Tebasaki literally translates to “wing tips” and is the term used for both bone-in chicken wings and the fried chicken dish.
What makes tebasaki stand out among other fried chicken dishes? The crispiness despite the meagre amount of starch with which the chicken wings were dusted. And, of course, the incomparable flavors which all come from a special sauce in which the chicken wings are tossed after they are fried.
And what makes the chicken wings so crispy? The chicken wings are fried twice. First, over medium heat; then, over very high heat. Might sound like a lot of work but the result totally justifies all the effort.
Make the glaze before frying the chicken so that it will have time to cool and thicken a bit.
Moisture is the enemy of crispy fried chicken so get rid of as much of the moisture as you can. What I do is lay the chicken on a stack of kitchen paper. Then I cover them with more kitchen paper and press. You’ll be amazed how much water will be absorbed by the kitchen paper especially the stack underneath the chicken wings.
Fry the chicken wings in batches. About eight to ten pieces depending on their size and the diameter of your cooking pan. The important thing is that all of them are submerged in oil.
Frying the chicken twice ensures that they are crisp, cooked through with no chance of overcooking.
Tebasaki: Japanese Fried Chicken Wings
- 12 chicken wings wingettes with tips and little drumsticks included
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sake
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon black vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch (corn starch or potato starch is okay, but flour is not okay)
- 3 cups cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds I used a combo of black and white but just one color is okay
- Rinse the chicken wings and wipe dry. Cut each chicken wing into two (little drumstick and wingette with the tip attached). Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Make the sauce. In a pan, boil together the sugar, soy sauce, sake, mirin, ginger and garlic. Allow to boil gently over medium heat for a minute. Turn off the heat. Set the sauce aside to cool.
- Start heating the cooking oil in another wok or frying pan. Set the heat to medium.
- Wipe the chicken wings once more.
- Add the starch to the chicken and toss to coat each piece with a thin layer of starch.
- Fry the chicken wings in batches just until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate as they cook, go on to the next batch, and so on.
- Turn the heat to high. Fry the chicken wings again, this time, in smaller batches of four or five.
- Dump the cooked chicken wings into the pan with the sauce. Toss to coat each piece of chicken with sauce. Add the toasted sesame seeds. Toss a few more times. Scoop out and serve.
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