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Tahtakale Market Wings

This recipe is adapted from Instanbul & Beyond: Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). This is author Robyn Eckhardt's version of the spicy, yet savory wings found on huge rotisseries throughout Istanbul’s famed Tahtakale Market, Istanbul’s famed spice bazaar. Even a modest stalls may sell hundreds of pounds of wings a day.
Having made these several times now, there are two keys: the vinegar/onion marinade and the accompanying herb salt. She recommends against barbecuing these and I agree; a hot oven will best mimic the rotisserie flavor. These are best cooked on a large cooking sheet fitted with a cooling rack. If you don’t have one, a broiler pan works fine. Neither? A plain cookie sheet works, just turn them regularly while cooking. If you have an air fryer or a combi-oven, that will work well, too.
I admit, we usually just eat the wings alone, but you can make a meal of them if you serve with some flatbread, a savory grain and sliced onions, tomatoes and cucumber. They reheat fabulously.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mediterranean, Turkish
Servings 4


  • Baking sheet


Tenderizing marinade

  • 16 chicken wings about 2 lbs./1 kg
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Seasoning marinade

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons Turkish Aleppo pepper
  • or dried red pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Spicy Herb Salt

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme or oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher or other coarse salt


Tenderizing marinade

  • Grate the onion or pulse in a food processor. In a large bowl, combine with the vinegar and salt and stir to combine. Add the wings and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and marinate overnight or for at least four hours, jostling the wings from time to time. To save space in your fridge, you can transfer to a well-sealed plastic bag.

Seasoning marinade

  • Combine the olive oil, chili flakes, cumin, thyme or oregano and sea salt in a large bowl. Remove the wings from the tenderizing marinade, pat dry with paper towels and add to the bowl. Stir or toss with tongs until the wings are coated with the new marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to four hours.

Spicy herb salt

  • In a small bowl, mix the red pepper and the thyme or oregano. Stir in the salt. Set aside.

Cook the wings

  • Cook the wings
  • Preheat the oven to 450*F/TKC. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a oiled cooling rack, or line a broiler pan with foil. Remove the wings from the marinade and roast for about 10 minutes. Using tongs, turn and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes until well browned and cook through. Serve hot with the chile-herb salt.


The recipe calls for Aleppo chile flakes which can be tricky to find. I get mine from World Spice in Seattle but you can also order from The Spice Way on Amazon. You can substitute red pepper flakes if you can't find them but the result will be spicier and a bit less savory.
Keyword budget friendly, chicken, Easy, potluck, spicy, wings