Kung Pao Chicken Wings
with fried cauliflower rice
It wasn't until a few years ago that we decided to tackle a Cook Smarts version of saucy, spicy chicken wings. As soon as we mastered the technique, we (and our community of home cooks) were hooked! This oven-roasted method makes the process easy and produces crispy wings every time. This version is made with a spicy Kung Pao Sauce and a quick side of fried rice. Other versions of these wings were featured in 2017 and 2018.
Kung Pao Chicken Wings:
- Chicken, small wings and drumettes - 1 1/2 lbs
- Arrowroot powder - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Foil - for roasting
- Kung Pao Sauce (ingredients listed separately) - 1/4 cup
Kung Pao Cauliflower Fried Rice:
- Cauliflower - 1 lb , florets
- Butter - 1 Tbsp
- Carrots - 8 oz , diced
- Bell peppers, red - 1 , diced
- Green onions - 2 stalks , chopped, green and white parts separate
- Limes - 1 , wedges
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Kung Pao Sauce (ingredients listed separately) - 2 Tbsp
- Cashews - 1/3 cup
Kung Pao Sauce:
- Ginger, fresh - 1 1/2 tsp , grated
- Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
- Water - 3 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Bragg's / coconut aminos - 2 Tbsp
- Honey - 2 tsp
- Vinegar, rice - 2 tsp
- Red pepper flakes - 1/4 tsp
- Arrowroot powder - 1/4 tsp
- Chicken - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating before continuing with prep.) Pat wings and drumettes dry. Toss with arrowroot powder (portion for chicken) and salt. Set aside for 20 minutes.
- Cauliflower rice - (Skip if made ahead for Tuesday.) Pulse florets in a food processor until broken up into ‘rice’-sized bits. Cook rice in one of two ways: 1) Microwave for 4 to 5 minutes and then fold in butter. Season with some salt and pepper; or 2) Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add butter. Saute cauliflower in heated butter for ~5 minutes, until tender but still crunchy. Season to taste with some salt and pepper. Watch this video for the full how-to on cauliflower rice. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Carrots / Bell peppers / Ginger / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store carrots and bell peppers in separate containers. Combine ginger and garlic in a third container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make Kung Pao Sauce - Combine ginger, garlic, first portion of water, aminos, honey, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to let the flavors come together. Whisk together second portion of water and arrowroot powder (portion for sauce) and slowly add it to the sauce while stirring. Cook until sauce thickens, ~ 1 minute more. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Green onions / Limes - Prep as directed. Store separately.
- Heat oven to 450F / 232C. Line a sheet pan with foil. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on top. Top cooling rack with wings and drumettes, leaving some space in between so that air can circulate (this will help them to get crispy).
- Roast chicken until cooked through and crisp and golden on the outside, turning halfway through cooking, ~35 minutes total. (Check out this video to see how we make baked chicken wings.)
- When chicken is nearly finished baking, heat a wok or large skillet with oil over medium heat. Add carrots and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add white parts of green onions and bell peppers. Saute until tender, ~3 minutes.
- Stir in cauliflower rice and Kung Pao Sauce (portion for cauliflower rice). Saute until everything is combined and warmed through, ~2 minutes more.
- Remove cauliflower rice from heat and squeeze half the lime wedges over top. Stir in cashews and green parts of green onions.
- When chicken is finished, toss with Kung Pao Sauce (portion for chicken).
- Serve chicken over cauliflower fried rice with remaining lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!