“Don’t you want to know how we keep starting fires? It’s my desire!”
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This is the second recipe to get an Electric Six theme, but to be honest their first appearance was more a shoehorn of a pun than a song I actually love. This choice, on the other hand, is the song that introduced me to the demented genius of Electric Six. They are a vastly underappreciated and underrated Detroit band largely due to the belief they are some sort of novelty or parody act. A serious listen to their “All Killer No Filler” debut reveals brilliant rock writing with joyously insane lyrics. The swagger Dick Valentine brings to every track is equal parts piss-take and rock god. The theme here is a prime example of hilarious lyrical content, solid rock writing, and an unforgettable hook. Add an insane second lead vocal from fellow Detroiter Jack White and you get the perfect formula for one of my all-time favorite rock songs.
This theme breaks from the usual pun-filled titles opting to use the quoted lyric, “Don’t you want to know how we keep starting fires,” as the thematic inspiration. These wings get a sizable amount of fire from the combo of Korean chili flakes, gochugaru, and Korean chili paste, gochujang. They are inspired by Korean fried chicken with a slight nod to Korean fire chicken, but I would not call it authentic or even necessarily Korean. I prefer to place the descriptive focus on the ingredients and techniques involved rather than ascribing a dish to a region. This is simply a delicious showcase for a couple of my favorite spicy cooking ingredients, and how I keep starting fires.
HIGH VOLTAGE WINGS
Gochujang marinated chickwheat wings with a gochujang glaze & gochujang ranch dressing
Makes about 1 pound of wings
For the wings
1 cup cooked chickpeas (cold, don’t use warm)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white miso paste
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup vital wheat gluten
For the marinade
1 tablespoon gochugaru
3 tablespoons gochujang
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon thick soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons vegetable stock or water
For the dredge & frying
1 teaspoon MSG or kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 quarts vegetable oil
For the glaze
1 cup of the reserved marinade
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 tablespoon gochujang
1 teaspoon lime zest
Juice of 1 lime
Blend all the wing ingredients up to cider vinegar in a food processor until completely smooth. Combine with vital wheat gluten in a bowl, mixing completely, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Take the rested dough ball and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is warm, stretchy, and smooth. Take the kneaded dough, and using a rolling pin or your hands, flatten it out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Use a knife to cut wing-esque shapes and flatten each slightly.
Place the wings in a steamer basket, cover the pot with a lid, and steam for 50 minutes. Once steamed, remove them from the basket and cool on a cooling rack. Let them cool completely, ideally overnight, before marinating.
When the wings are cooled and ready for frying, place them in a ziplock bag. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the marinade for the sauce. Pour the rest of the marinade into the ziplock with the wings. Seal tightly and toss to thoroughly coat the wings. Place them in the fridge for at least an hour though 4 hours is ideal.
Once the wings have marinated, place the dredge ingredients in a ziplock or paper bag. Take the wings out of the marinade and place them in the bag with the dredge. Shake to completely coat the wings in the dredge.
In a small bowl, combine the ranch dressing, gochujang, lime zest, and lime juice. Whisk to mix thoroughly. Place in the fridge.
Place the reserved marinade in a medium saucepan. Gently heat to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Whisk until the butter has melted and set aside.
Place a medium skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat and add 2 quarts of oil. When the frying oil reaches 350°F, transfer the wings from the dredge to the pan being careful not to splash hot oil. You’ll probably need to work in batches. Fry the wings until golden and crispy, flipping occasionally while cooking, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer cooked wings to a wire rack placed on a baking sheet.
Once all of the wings have been fried, place them in a large bowl. Pour the sauce mixture over the wings and toss to completely coat. Transfer the coated wings to a bowl or plate, top with some sesame seeds or furikake, and serve with the gochujang ranch.