Add Fish Sauce To Your Chicken Wing Batter For An Umami Flavor Overload

Battered wings full of umami
Battered wings full of umami - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Are you looking to infuse an umami flavor into your next batch of chicken wings? Adding fish sauce to your wing batter might just be the answer. If you're unfamiliar with fish sauce, don't let its name scare you away. Primarily used in Asian cooking, it's a dark brown, thin liquid condiment derived from fermented fish, usually anchovies. Its deep, savory flavor is briny with a hint of sweetness.

This hack can be used in both wet batters and as part of a dry batter preparation. You can even go batterless, marinating the chicken in fish sauce, or use the pickle brine batter technique. Whichever method you use, as long as you have a suitable flavor pairing, your wings are sure to be on overload when it comes to the savory, meaty depth that umami, the fifth taste, lends.

If you've been fortunate enough to have tried Andy Ricker's career-defining Vietnamese Pok Pok wings, these may be what comes to mind when thinking about fish sauce and chicken wings, with their deeply steeped flavor. It's an absolute one-two punch of sticky-sweet and savory, and for good reason: They're marinated in fish sauce to full and brilliant effect. Similarly, fish sauce is a complementary addition to Teriyaki-style wings as well as BBQ wings, where it can add a counterbalance to their sweetness in much the same way while adding dimension to the flavor profile.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

More Types Of Chicken Wings That Go Great With Fish Sauce

Umami-packed Pok Pok Wings
Umami-packed Pok Pok Wings - Wild As Light/Shutterstock

Looking for less sweetness and more of a spicy kick to your wings? Try Korean Gochujang wings or Sweet Thai chile wings. Both of these green-onion-topped flavor bombs play perfectly with the pungent saltiness of fish sauce — Gochujang doubles down on the pungent depth of flavor, while Sweet Thai chili-lime-infused wings bring a burst of citrus to counter fish sauce's salty-savory.

And because fish sauce is made from anchovies, it's a perfect (and easy) way to mimic anchovy pasta. Start with garlic parmesan wings — adding fish sauce (and maybe a little ground black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste). If you simply want to get your hands on chef Will Horowitz's lip-smacking chicken wings with guajillo anchovy sauce from his restaurant Ducks Eatery in the East Village, but you're not in New York, fish sauce makes for an easy shortcut to DIY at home.

Bottom line: Don't be afraid to experiment with the joys of umami through the medium of fish sauce. Just remember, a little goes a long way, both in flavor and in sodium content, so don't go overboard right out the gate. Instead, experiment with adding just a little and increase its use as you become more familiar with fish sauce and how best to balance its flavors in a dish. You can always add more to your next batch of wings if you want the flavor to be more pronounced. Batter up!

Read the original article on Tasting Table.