Ah! Chicken wings…What’s not to like!
Actually, do you know what I like even more? Little birdies. Yes. You heard me right. The same ones that fly in the sky. They are absolutely, mouth watering, delicious eaten whole; grilled or sauteed and lathered with a sweet and sour pomegranate molasses basting sauce.
I am consciously aware that what I’ve just said is politically incorrect and illegal in most places. But, in Lebanon they are still hunted and served for culinary enjoyment.
I’ve been hunting them with my father and eating them ever since I can remember.
(Chris hunting around our mountain house near Sanine, Lebanon on our trip last year. He wasn’t lucky that day).
These delectable miniature creatures are referred to simply as birds (3asafeer) or fig birds (3asafeer el tine) as they feed on figs. Seth Sherwood of the New York Times tried them out on a recent trip to Beirut and here’s what he had to say:
” Hesitantly, I popped one in my mouth. Tiny bones cracked like toothpicks. In a quick burst, succulent meat mingled with the sweet-sour basting sauce. It was sublime. A miniature Hitchcockian menace had been transformed into an unexpected gastronomic gem.”
Oh yes… He knows what he’s talking about!
So, what do chicken wings have to do with little birds, you ask?
When you live in the U.K and you’re craving these birds which you know you just cannot have, you quickly learn to settle for something else. Preparing chicken wings in the same basting sauce used for the birds can work as some pseudo- fix requiring a generous serving of mental hocus-pocus.
You must believe. You must really, really believe!
However, if we leave the hallucinations out and talk about them simply as chicken wings- well then they are the best chicken wings you’ll ever taste! Bonus– easy and quick to make as well!
Don’t take my word for it- hurry, go, make em!
- 1kg or 2.2 pounds of chicken wings
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon seven spices; a mixture of spices typically including black and white pepper, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and coriander
- ¼ cup pomegranate molasses- found at any Middle-Eastern grocer
- about 30ml or 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ a lemon- juiced
- a handful of coriander about 15g, finely chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- You want to be sure to use a heavy-bottomed, deep saute pan. Place it on medium flame, add the olive oil and let it get hot.
- Then quickly add the minced garlic, the chicken wings and the seven spices and mix well so that they are covered well with the oil and garlic. Now, let them cook on one side for about 10 minutes. Gently shake the pan every once in a while to minimizing sticking.
- Once they are cooked on one side turn them over and cook for a further 10 minutes on the other side.
- Now add the chopped coriander, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Mix well and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
- They are best served with Arabic bread, extra pomegranate molasses on the side and of course for those of you who can’t help yourselves; Toum or Lebanese garlic sauce. Enjoy!