Slow Cooker: Sujata’s Curried Chicken Wings

Sunday January 19, 2014

People just adore all manner of chicken wings and there are dozens of glazes and marinades to spice them up.


These chicken wings have a colorful history.

I went to high school with a man who changed his name and became the artist Sage Gentle-Wing, a Tibetan mask dancer.  Sage studied with the beloved Indian dance team of Asoka and Sujata, who did bit part work in Hollywood in the 1940s for exotic dance scenes, and then retired into teaching a select group of students.

I was thrilled to find this appetizer in the Los Angeles Times California Cookbook that Sujata made for a party at the Pacificulture-Asia Museum in Pasadena decades ago, before they retired from performing and public life, moving to Sedona, Arizona.  They are mildly spicy, flavorful, and fabulous.

The secret is this unique curry paste, which takes dry spices and mixes them with cider vinegar.

tumeric, the yellow powder

Make the curry paste first; it keeps in the refrigerator for weeks (I use it for my all-purpose curry paste and it is not spicy-hot). This needs to marinate overnight, so plan accordingly. It is great on tofu, fish, and turkey as well. This is a slow cooker recipe.

Slow Cooker: Large round or oval

Setting and Cook Time: HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Serves 4 as a main dish, 10 as an appetizer


Sujata’s Curry Paste:

  • 1/4 cup ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water, as needed

The Wings:

  • 4 pounds chicken wings, cut into joints, with bony wing tips reserved for stock or discarded, or 3 pounds chicken drumettes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Asian toasted sesame oil


1. Combine the spices for the curry paste in a small bowl. Mix with the vinegar, then drizzle in the water to make a loose paste. Makes about 1/2 cup.

2. Rinse the wings and pat dry. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt.  Mix together all of the curry paste and the sesame oil; toss with the wings until evenly coated.  Cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate.

3. Coat the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.  Arrange the wings in the cooker.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If possible, stir gently halfway through cooking with a wooden spoon, bringing the wings on the top to the bottom to coat with sauce. Check for doneness and if not done, cover and cook another 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Serve hot or warm.


What a gorgeous picture of the classic dance mysteries from the Tibetan monasteries and long lineage of Indian ethnic dance telling stories of their pantheon of gods and goddessses. A moment frozen in time. These dances, widely performed during the British raj, are now considered extinct.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2007, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2014

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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