Tebasaki – Japanese fried Chicken wings (apparently the real name for the dish, which does make it sound much more exotic. I mean if someone said: ‘hey wanna come round for Japanese fried wings’, you might be like: ‘maybe, but I might also be busy’. However, if they said: ‘So, I’m cooking up some Tebasaki tonight, you down?’ You’d probably say: ‘What is Tebasaki? I’m definitely down for that.’)
So Tebasaki translates to ‘wing tips’ describing pretty nicely the tippy ends of the chicken that chicken wings are. Apparently these taste bombs are popular in Nagoya, however, I found them on the internet. Unlike other wings these are not breaded, battered or covered in any crisp inducing stuff, it is the actual skin of the wing that produces the desired crunch that all wing enthusiasts seek like the holy grail. However, the crunch on a wing is much more attainable than the holy grail. I can find a crunchy wing in about 4 minutes walk from my house, nearly 24 hours of the day. However, the holy grail, well that might not even exist, and if it does, look how hard it was for Hans frickin Solo to find it when he became a tomb raider.
So unlike other wings, the flavour and texture that makes them so different from other wings comes from the cooking process and the glaze. Just like Heston and his chips, theses too are double cooked wings. To keep the crunch you have to dunk them into the glaze almost immediately after the wings have come out the oil.
What you need
- Chicken Wings
- Black or white sesame seeds
- Black pepper
- 3 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons of sake (if you don’t have this use more mirin)
- 3 tablespoons of mirin
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 clove of grated garlic
- corn flour
- 1 lime juice
- chilli flakes if you are feeling spicy
- vegetable oil for frying
- kitchen towel (not for eating but for sucking up oil)
First of all get all the wings and split them at the joins. To do this take a knife and cut the flappy skin in the corner of the join, then snap the wing to break the join and cut through between the knuckle and the knuckle holder (probably not medical terms, but I’m no scientist so can’t really help you there). Then you have two parts of a wing, so it looks like you made more food, always good when guests are around.
On each wing cut through the skin to make a few different slits and put them on some kitchen towel. Do this to all the wings.
Next, take some sea salt and pepper and rub it all over the wings, massage them like tiny little tired runners. Leave these guys for about 30 minutes in open air, you want them to dry out as much possible.
To make the glaze add all of the remaining ingredients apart from the sesame seeds, oil and kitchen towel. Add them to a sauce pan and cook until everything is mixed and it has come to a rolling boil. Then leave to cool.
Now it’s time to fry the wings. Before you do though dab the wings with kitchen towel and cover with a small bit of corn flour, this just aids with crunchyness and is not intended to be a batter.
Fill a wok or heavy bottomed saucepan with oil so that there is enough to cover the wings. Get the oil hot enough to fry something, but not as hot as possible. You can check this by dropping in some of flour if it begins to sizzle immediately that’s perfect, if not heat up a little more. You can also use a cooking thermometer and check the temp needed. In a deep fryer around 180C.
Add enough wings so that they can all stay covered in their oily bath. Fry them for about 8 minutes, until they look cooked, but not yet golden. Take them out and add to kitchen towel. Leave these guys to dry for a while. You could actually prepare them up to this point earlier in the day and just leave them for the small fry when you need to. Pretty cool right?
Now you got time to toast up some seeds. Add the seeds to a frying pan and toast on a light heat, but make sure you don’t burn them. When you think they are toasted add to a plate, or cup or other vessel while you tend to their future arranged brides, aka the wings.
Now turn the oil up so its at max temp (220 if using a deep fryer) and dunk the wings in for a final fry of 2 minutes, or until the skin is golden, puffed up and crispy. Take them out, dry again on kitchen towel and plunge into the glaze. Take out of the glaze, add to a plate and sprinkle over the little seeds. Then guess what, you got yourself some Tebasaki. Eat with whatever you want, but I had it with some green things and some sticky rice. Best wings I ever cooked.