Ahhhh, it’s so good. The thing about using fresh pineapple is that while they are naturally sweet, there’s a little tang that you won’t get from canned fruit which is often too cloying. That subtle tang blends beautifully with sweet coconut water so that by the end of cooking time, the dish is a blend of sweet and sour in a rather understated way.
Ginger gives off an earthy spiciness and heat. The chili flakes gives the dish a nice kick that won’t scorch your mouth. And that makes this chili ginger pineapple chicken wingettes suitable for folks who do not enjoy the overwhelming heat of dishes cooked with whole chilies. Undoubtedly child-friendly, in other words.
But why chicken wingettes? Won’t other chicken parts work too? Sure they will. You may even cook this dish using chicken fillets. But the thing about chicken wingettes is that they have a perfect proportion of meat and skin. And since this dish was cooked with no additional oil, the skin is necessary to give the chicken the best color, texture and flavor.
Chili Ginger Pineapple Chicken Wingettes
- 1 kilogram chicken wingettes - about 12 to 16 pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes - divided
- 3 cups pineapple chunks - please use fresh
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 teaspoon tapioca starch - or corn starch
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce - (see notes)
- Wipe the chicken wingettes dry with a kitchen towel and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add the salt, pepper, grated ginger and half of the chili flakes.
- Toss the chicken with the seasonings, cover the bowl and stick in the fridge for at least half an hour.
- Set a non-stick frying pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high.
- While the pan is still warming up, arrange the chicken wingettes, skin side down, in a single layer.
- Leave until the skins are lightly browned and a little fat has been rendered.
- Flip the wingettes over and leave to brown the opposite sides for a minute or so.
- Scatter the pineapple chunks around the between the wingettes.
- Pour in the coconut water and bring to the boil.
- Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer the chicken with the pineapple chunks until done and the liquid has been reduced to half.
- Stir the starch in a tablespoon of water, a teaspoon of soy sauce with the remaining half of the chili flakes, and drizzle over the chicken the pineapple chunks.
- Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick and clear.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed, before serving.