When presented with a choice about which part of the chicken I prefer, I tend to opt for the wing! It's flavorful, succulent, holds spices and seasonings well and is just fun to eat! When presented with a choice about which cuisine I'm in the mood for, very often either Thai or Malaysian wins out.
Combining the two is a recipe for success.
I really enjoyed hawker food when I visited Malaysia and often look for recipes along those lines. I recently came across a recipe that Zak Pelaccio created based on his experiences in Malaysia. The recipe, reprinted below, is available at: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/malaysian-glazed-chicken-wings.
I've learned from my experience in making foods from South and South East Asia that grinding spices produces a better end product than using pre-ground spices. This is especially true if the spices are heated before in a non-stick pan to release their fragrance. If I can, I avoid using powdered spices.
Malaysian Glazed Chicken Wings
12 small dried red chiles
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
One 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
5 1/2 pounds chicken wings
In a small skillet, toast the chiles, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds
over moderate heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind to a fine powder.
Transfer the ground spices to a medium bowl
and whisk in the sugar, molasses, fish sauce, soy sauces, garlic and ginger.
Divide the wings among 2 or 3 resealable plastic bags and pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for 4 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Remove the wings from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels; reserve the marinade. Arrange the wings on 2 wire racks set over a foil-covered baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, strain the marinade into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until thick and sticky, about 20 minutes. Transfer the marinade to a large bowl. When the wings are done, add them to the bowl and toss to coat with the sauce.
Pile on plates and serve immediately.
Make Ahead The wings can be marinated overnight.