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Homemade San Tung “Dry-Fried” Chicken Wings

San Tung Dry Fried Chicken Wings 1

San Tung is that restaurant in San Francisco that Marissa and I have to eat at the night I arrive in San Francisco each and every time I visit her. It serves the famous “dry-fried” chicken wings that we crave and love.

I desperately wanted to make them for the family on Super Bowl Sunday.

After much online research and some trial and error, I have the recipe for you to make at home!

fryer and set up

You’re going to need a large pot, Dutch oven, or preferably a deep fryer. If using a pot, you’ll also need a candy thermometer. Plus, you’ll need a couple big bowls, wire racks, paper towels and a baking sheet.

If you’re like me, you like your wings cut into two pieces, the drummett and the wing.

cut through skin

When cutting the wings in half, just cut through the skin, then bend the wing so you see where the joint is and cut right through the joint.

cut through joint

It’s easy once you find the joint and don’t try cutting through the bone. Then cut off the wing tip, there is a joint there too.

cut off wing tip

Save and freeze the tips for the next time you make chicken stock.

This recipe makes about 60 wings (30 wings cut in half) and it takes over and hour and a half to fry them all – twice. The recipe can easily be cut in half.

OK, let’s get started…

San Tung Dry Fried Chicken Wings

Homemade San Tung “Dry-Fried” Chicken Wings

Sweet and Spicy Sticky Sauce
1 bunch green onions, minced (green and white parts)
1 small bunch cilantro, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1  1/2 cups honey or agave nectar
3/4 cup water
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Szechuan chili sauce

Wings
8 pounds chicken wings
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 cups canola oil
2 cups cornstarch, divided
1  1/2 cups water

split onions and cilantro in half

Sauce: Mix together the green onions and cilantro. Divide in half, placing half in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

sauce ingredients

Place the other half in a large bowl and…

whisk sauce

…whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients.

cook sauce

Pour the sauce into a large skillet and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.

reduced

drummetts

Wings: Cut the wings in half, separating the drummettes and wings, then cut off the wing tips.

wing tips

Save the wing tips to use for chicken stock. They make a very rich and gelatinous stock.

rinse

Wash the wings, drain on paper towels in one layer to dry well.

salt and peppered

Once dry, season well with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat the oil, preferably in a deep-fryer, to 350 degrees.

divide cornstarch

Place 1/2 cup of the cornstarch in a large bowl. Place the remaining 1 1/2 cups cornstarch in another large bowl.

cornstarch mixed

Whisk 1  1/2 cups water into the bowl with the 1  1/2 cups cornstarch.

cornstarch settled

The batter settles quickly so you will need to thoroughly stir it up for each batch of dipping. It will get dense and hard at the bottom of the bowl as it settles and will take some effort to mix each time.

whisk in bowl

A trick to help you remember to whisk between batches is to keep the whisk in the bowl between batches. (This photo was taken after several batches were finishes, that is why there is salt and pepper visible in the batter.)

fryer and set up

Set up two rack stations. Place one rack over a baking sheet. Place another rack over some paper towels.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Now you are ready to begin the marathon of wing frying.

dry cornstarch

Take 6 to 8 wings and toss in the bowl with the dry cornstarch. Shake off excess.

raw dip

Whisk the cornstarch batter mixture and coat the wings in the batter.

battered and ready to fry

Gently place in the hot oil and fry for 5 minutes.

fryer

Use tongs to remove wings to the prepared rack that is set over the paper towels.

Repeat with another 6 to 8 wings. Once the second batch is done, place it on the rack over the paper towels.

2nd dip

Now it is time to fry the first batch for a second time. Dip the first batch of fried wings in the batter and fry again for another 5 minutes.

twice fried

After 5 minutes place the twice-fried wings on the rack that is set over the baking sheet with the foil and place in the oven.

Fry 6 to 8 more wings for the first time, set on the rack with the paper towels, then fry that second batch for a second time. Repeat until all the wings are twice-fried, transferring the twice-fried wings to the oven to keep warm as the are finished.
Take care to not forget that you need to thoroughly whisk the batter before dipping each batch of wings.

coat with sauce

Reheat the sauce in the skillet, then pour into an extra-large bowl and toss the wings in the sauce to coat, transfer to a platter and garnish with the reserved cilantro and green onions.

San Tung Dry Fried Chicken Wings 2

Serve immediately and watch them disappear.

Makes about 60 delicious sticky, finger-licking good chicken wings

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18 comments

1 Marissa { 02.09.14 at 1:33 PM }

Yay! I am glad you figured it out! But I hope this doesn’t mean you’ll come visit me less

2 Linda Hopkins { 02.09.14 at 6:11 PM }

No matter where you move, or what dish I make from there, I will never stop visiting you! … as often as possible! xoxo

3 Elton Pasceri { 03.12.15 at 12:54 AM }

We will be making this again!!!!! Thanks for the great recipe!!!!

4 Linda Hopkins { 03.12.15 at 9:47 AM }

Thanks Elton, it’s one of our favorites too.

5 Tony { 07.16.16 at 10:45 PM }

Thank you so much for this recipe, it was delicious and very very close to San tung. I thought you were crazy for using a cup and a half of honey but it was spot on!

Thank you for this, we live in Sacramento now so we can’t experience it like we use to.

6 John { 08.18.16 at 5:12 PM }

Thank you for this recipe. I still dream about this wings from San Fran. It states to put wings in the 200 degree oven after twice fried, but does not say for how many minutes. Can someone help? Thank you

7 Linda Hopkins { 08.18.16 at 5:37 PM }

Hi John, Thank you for your comment and question. The wings are just put in the 200 degree oven to keep warm until all the wings are fried. So there isn’t an exact length of time, basically just until you’re finished cooking them all. Then remove from oven and devour. Like you, I dream about these amazing wings too. Since my daughter moved from San Francisco over a year ago, I’m long overdue for my fix. Thanks for reminding me… I’ll be making them again very soon!

8 Mychaeltodd Robinson-Hokerk { 06.22.19 at 5:26 PM }

Hey, I know for sure they use potato flour, but I also heard the secret was sweet potato flour. Anyone who has ate here, already knows they are sweet & spicy.

9 Linda Hopkins { 06.25.19 at 3:13 PM }

Potato Flour? Well, that makes me want to make them again real soon and try that out. I think I’ll go on Amazon and get me some sweet potato four too. Thanks for the tip!

https://www.amazon.com/Shiloh-Farms-Organic-Sweet-Potato/dp/B07G9P73ZM/ref=sr_1_3?crid=58502CFWB7SY&keywords=sweet+potato+flour+organic&qid=1561500778&s=gateway&sprefix=sweet+potato+flour%2Caps%2C190&sr=8-3

10 Ann McGrath { 08.22.19 at 4:03 PM }

Linda, did you try the recipe in an air fryer at all? Just wondering….

11 Linda Hopkins { 08.23.19 at 7:15 AM }

Ann, I don’t have an air fryer, so no I haven’t. Now I’m also curious if that would work. First thing I would do though is to check the directions on the air fryer and lookup if double-frying works or not.

12 Ann McGrath { 08.27.19 at 10:35 AM }

Thanks Linda – my friend has an air fryer and I am forwarding your link to him. I’ll let you know how it works out 🙂

13 DANIEL D. { 09.12.19 at 12:42 PM }

Nice recipe, thanks. Is the second dip in the wet batter before the second frying necessary? I didn’t notice a difference on the one batch I did without. But I”m not the most discerning…

14 Linda Hopkins { 09.14.19 at 7:20 AM }

Hi Daniel, it’s so much that it is necessary, it just makes the wings that much more crispy, crunchy and delicious. Although I’m sure they are very delicious either way.

15 Ian { 09.30.19 at 9:29 PM }

Hi Linda
I can’t wait to try your recipe. Just wondering though, can I sub in apple cider vinegar for the rice vinegar?
Thanks!
Ian

16 Linda Hopkins { 10.04.19 at 12:36 AM }

I suppose you could since it’s a small amount.

17 Janice { 11.16.19 at 9:49 AM }

Hey there,
I am looking at San Tung’s menu and I see a couple of ingredients missing from your recipe compared to their’s. Ginger and those little tiny red peppers. I guess you substituted with the chili sauce? Also, not sure where the cilantro came from, but I’ve never had cilantro in mine from there. I was curious about the batter though. The thin batter makes sense since they come looking like regular hot wings. Thanks for your efforts to duplicate. San Tung’s wings are an awesome treat and well worth the wait!!

18 Linda Hopkins { 11.19.19 at 3:52 PM }

I agree, they are well worth any wait! Miss going there since my daughter moved to Austin 5 years ago. Receiving your comment makes me crave them. I may need to dig out my deep fryer after Thanksgiving and I’ll toss a little fresh ginger in there. I wrote this so long ago, I don’t remember all the rhyme or reason for cilantro, etc. I just know they are a close 2nd to getting them at San Tung.

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