That first crunchy, chewy, tender, juicy, meaty bite of a perfectly-cooked chicken wing sure is the best.
Or is it the last bite when your fingers, face, plate, napkin and everything else is coated in a sticky, tangy, sweet, aromatically spiced sauce and you get to lick it all off with a greedy pleasure?
It could even be when you dip that hot sticky wing into a creamy, cool cucumber-cilantro ranch and all of the flavors get married on your tongue. And you smile ‘cause its just so dang delicious…yeah…I think that’s the best part.
Chai spice is such a flavor powerhouse. Cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, coriander, black pepper and anise make up this particular blend, and they don’t disappoint the taste buds. (For an AIP option, use cinnamon, clove, ginger and mace.)
Melding these aromatics into a simply sublime sauce of brightly tart lemon juice, umami-sweet amber coconut nectar and flavorful virgin coconut oil.
This cashew ranch is absolutely to die for all by itself, but when you add in the cucumber and cilantro a bit of magic happens. If you wanted to get super wizard on the dip, you could even mash in half an avocado and watch it quickly disappear right before your eyes. (For an AIP version, be sure to use coconut cream, as cashews are not AIP compliant.)
- high heat oil such as refined avocado or refined coconut, if deep frying
- 2 lb chicken wings, tips removed
- Chai spice blend (see recipe below) (for AIP, use blend listed further down)
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- 2 Tb coconut oil, extra virgin
- 1/4 cup coconut nectar, amber
- 1 large lemon, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
- CHAI SPICE BLEND
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp anise seeds
- AIP CHAI SPICE BLEND
- 2 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1/2 tsp clove, ground
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
- 1/4 tsp mace, ground
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup coconut cream, chilled (for AIP version, omit the cashews and water use the coconut cream instead)
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1/3 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/4 cup cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
- 11/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- Place cashews in a 4-cup mason jar, and fill with water to cover by at least 1”. (For AIP, skip the cashew process entirely, and use coconut cream.)
- Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes on high, or until water just begins to bubble gently. (Alternately, boil water separately and cover cashews with it.)
- Cover and allow to plump for 30 minutes.
- Drain and rinse the cashews, keeping them inside the mason jar. (For AIP: Place coconut cream inside jar and omit water.)
- Add 1/2 cup water, garlic clove, onion powder and Himalayan salt. Use an immersion blender or high-speed blender to puree until very smooth and creamy.
- Add in cucumber, cilantro and lime juice. Pulse until pieces are minced.
- Add extra water if a thinner consistency is desired
- Chill in fridge until ready to serve (it will thicken some when chilled, as well).
- Rinse chicken wings, shake excess water, and thoroughly pat dry with paper or kitchen towels.
- Deep fry, pan fry, or oven bake chicken wings in a high heat oil such refined avocado or refined coconut oil until cooked through and to desired crispness.
- Place virgin coconut oil, spices, lemon juice and sweeteners in a large Pyrex microwavable bowl and whisk together. (Alternately, place all in a large sauce pan, bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Whisk until slightly thickened, turn off heat and set aside to cool.)
- Place in microwave and cook, uncovered, on high for 1 minute. Whisk, then return to microwave for 1 more minute. Check to see if the sauce is slightly sticky and coats the back of a spoon, if so set aside to cool. If still too thin, microwave in 30 second increments until desired consistency.
- Toss chicken wings in with the sauce, and stir well, turning over several times to coat the skin evenly. Add in optional chopped cilantro if desired while stirring.
- Deep frying will result in the crispiest wings.