Party Wings and Other Things

     Use this Maple, Ginger, and Garlic Marinade on wings, or cauliflower florets, and everyone is pleased!

Most of my family loves wings, some love them spicy, some love them mild, and some don’t eat meat at all but love the spicy flavors!

Since everyone does not eat meat, there is not a one-shop recipe. But the marinade can be used for both purposes, so if you are having a lot of folks over, double the batch and make one with chicken and one with cauliflower.

Ingredients:  This is a fast marinade to put together, just have your list ready and mix all the ingredients together in one bowl, or the food processor, even easier. If you want the wings hot, add 1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper to the marinade. This recipe doesn’t need a dipping sauce, but if you make them hot you might want to add a creamy side sauce to cool the heat.

If using wings, look for local, organic first of course. Choose cauliflower that is firm, with no browning, and nice green base. You can substitute lemon for lime in this recipe, and honey for the maple syrup. The horseradish adds a nice bite, and the cayenne a different type of heat. Add a little of the cayenne, taste, and adjust according to what you like.

The Evolution of the Sauce

This sauce has morphed considerably over time. I’ve also used hoisin sauce in this, chili-garlic sauce, but these prepared sauces are often loaded with salt and have preservatives added. The chili-garlic sauce I used was made in China, and I have definite rules about any food sourced from there not having a place in my kitchen. A spicy Korean gochujang is also a good substitute. If I had my own homemade ketchup, I’d use that, but it is my one nod to pre-made convenience in this dish.

Maple, Ginger, & Garlic Wings

The recipe is simple and fast, everything mixed in a medium bowl with your whisk, or a small food processor (no need to finely mince, let the machine work for you). Combine:

1/2 cup ketchup

Zest of two limes

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or a bit less, optional

2 tbsp. prepared horseradish

3 to 4 cloves fresh garlic. crushed

2 scallions, white and greens, minced

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey 

24 organic chicken wing parts

Let the wings marinate in 2/3 of this mixture overnight, or at least two hours. Reserve the rest of the marinade in the refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, then spray or brush with a neutral oil such as canola or grape seed.

Remove the wings from the marinade and place on the pan, single file, not touching.

Bake 20 minutes, then turn them and drizzle with the rest of the marinade. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until bubbly brown and caramelized. Let cool 10 minutes before consuming.

If you like, make a dipping sauce, and serve hot.

Maple, Ginger, & Garlic Cauliflower Bites

A little drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds finish this dish off nicely.

I’ve made these using a gluten-free flour and a milk alternative to please every need in the family, but you can use regular all-purpose flour and dairy if you choose. I’ve added the turmeric and paprika for a subtle taste, lovely color, and for the health benefits. I know this is a snack, but I slip a little nutrition in where I can!

You can make these two ways: either fried in a wok, or baked in a hot oven. I like the flavor of the wok-fried better, and you only use two tablespoons of oil for this large batch so you are not adding a ton of oil, but it takes longer and is more hands-on, so consider this when planning your cook time.

1 large head cauliflower

½ cup garbanzo bean or rice flour

¼ cup cornstarch

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. turmeric

½ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. canola oil

¾ cup skim milk or alternative

Prepare the cauliflower:  Core the cauliflower, and break into large florets. If too small, the cauliflower will be over-cooked before it is brown, and you want some firmness in the final product.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, paprika, turmeric, and salt. Mix together well and add the oil and milk. The batter will be thin and somewhat lumpy.

Dump the florets into the batter and using your fingers, coat eat piece gently but as thoroughly as possible.

In the wok:   

Make batter and coat florets as described above. Place wok over high heat, and once hot, add two tablespoons of canola or grape seed oil.

stir fried
In the wok, the cauliflower bites turn out crispy and just fork tender, a nice texture for an appetizer.

Using a spider or large-slotted spoon, add a batch of florets to the wok, draining through the slots in the spoon before you place in the hot oil. Let cook in the hot oil for a minute or two, until starting to brown, then flip the florets and move them around. You will want some browning on each side, they take a little fussing, but it is worth it. When cooked, place on a wire rack to drain. Continue with your batches until done, adding a bit more oil.

Baked cauliflower florets
In the Oven: Ready for saucing hot from the oven. You can add a traditional Buffalo sauce here, or any number of other lovely dipping or coating sauces, including the Maple, Ginger & Garlic Sauce above.

 In the oven:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place the rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray or brush with canola oil. Just a little insurance.

Prepare the batter as above, and coat the florets.

Place on the baking sheet in a single layer, not touching if possible.

Bake for 10 minutes, turn them over, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Let cool for five minutes, then place in a large bowl. Add sauce of choice, and gently coat them with a wooden spoon. The sauce above for the wings is good on this, as is a simple Buffalo sauce.  You can also add a drizzle more of maple syrup to the serving platter, and perhaps a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

Have them your way!

© Copyright 2019 – or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen






9 Comments Add yours

  1. Sheryl says:

    mmm. . . this looks yummy.

    1. Thanks! Got to please everyone on game day!

  2. miakouppa says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe!!! It’s going to come in handy on Superbowl Sunday 🙂 🙂

    1. Thanks Mia! Enjoy the game!

  3. Alicia says:

    I made the cauliflower wings over the weekend and they were really good! I fried them rather than baking as you recommended, and they sort of tasted like a spicy tempura. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. You are very welcome. I’m so glad yo liked them! And yes, they do remind one of tempura because of the thin batter with cornstarch.

  4. I love this idea – particularly of the Cauliflower Bites! Delicious

  5. Thank you Kathryn! The cauliflower is one of our favorites.

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