An all-time favourite for the kids, this. Watching movies with a big plate of spiced wings, they’ll be happy for hours! The amazing by-product of this recipe, though, is the spice mix – great on chips, amazing on baked potatoes, and if you’re grilling on the barbecue just sprinkle some of this over your meat. Stunning.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (17 votes)


  • 12 chicken wings, skin on
  • 2 x 4 cm (1½ in) cinnamon sticks
  • 500–700 ml (17 fl oz–1¼ pints) vegetable oil or rapeseed oil


  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • 2¼ tbsp grated ginger, including skin
  • 6 dried red chillies, roughly broken
  • 3 tbsp sea salt

Colonel Singh's dusting

  • 3 tsp rubbed sage or crushed dried sage
  • ¾ tbsp garlic powder (optional)
  • ¾ tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ⅓ tbsp sea salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Curing time 6 hours or overnight

First make the cure for the chicken wings. Cut the head of garlic several times across the width and discard as much of the papery skin as you can. Put the garlic in a large shallow dish and add all of the remaining cure ingredients. With a pestle, gently bruise the mixture to release the flavours. Add the chicken wings and massage the cure into them. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, overnight if possible.

When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas 2. Remove the chicken wings from the fridge, wipe off the cure with kitchen paper and pat as dry as possible. Place them in a deep ovenproof pot with a tightly fitting lid, add the cinnamon sticks and enough oil to submerge the meat. Cover with the lid and cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours; there is no need to disturb the dish during this time.

Remove the pot from the oven and leave the chicken to cool in the oil while you make the dusting. The chicken will need one final quick cook in the oven before it is ready to eat, so don’t turn the oven off; instead, increase the temperature to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. Whizz together the ingredients for the dusting in a mini chopper or food-processor and set aside.

When the chicken wings have cooled, line a dish with a double layer of kitchen paper. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken wings from the oil (carefully as they will be very tender) and place on the kitchen paper for a few minutes so that it soaks up some of the oil. Carefully transfer the wings to a roasting tin, and roast in the preheated oven for 12 minutes or so or until crispy.

Remove the wings from the oven and pat with kitchen paper again. Shake over the dusting and serve, allowing three chicken wings per person. Serve any extra dusting alongside in case you want to add even more!  


Recipe from The Incredible Spice Men by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh (BBC Books, $49.99, hbk, available here)


View all the recipes from The Incredible Spice Men.