The Colonel who? Forget KFC, crispy, sticky and oh-so-delicious Tebasaki (Nagoya-style chicken wings) are so popular in our house that the kids have taken to begging for them. And I’ve taken to giving in, almost as frequently.
With the impending Tokyo Olympics stirring up a whole lotta memories of our travels across Japan, and lockdown meaning there’s no way for us to be in situ to celebrate its incredible culture, awesome cities and quirky attractions, the kids have been calling on me to whip up all my home-cooked Japanese staples like Okonomayaki, Takoyaki, Sushi and Gyoza, to get them in the zone.
But my very hungry son has been particularly keen on me whipping up even more Olympics-worthy Japanese TV snacks. And what could be a better accompaniment to a little spectator sport than the killer, crowd-pleasing chicken wings we noshed on in Nagoya.
One of the highlights of our visit to Nagoya was eating Nagoya Meshi, the regional cuisine found only in Nagoya and Aichi Prefecture. And while there were plenty of dishes that floated their culinary boat, they haven’t stopped talking about the Tebasaki, the Nagoya-style chicken wings they devoured by the dozen.
These crispy, sticky beauties are unique to Nagoya Meshi. Tebasaki translates to “wingtips” the cut of chicken as well as a specific dish that’s made with them. The dish hails originally from Nagoya and is made by glazing crisp fried chicken wings in a sweet and salty glaze.
So, what’s s special about Nagoya-style chicken wings? It’s the double whammy of crunch and flavour. Tebasaki are made from the wingtips seasoned and deep-fried sans batter. Despite the absence of a karaage-like crust, two dips in the deep fryer renders the skin perfectly crispy and crackly while the meat remains deliciously moist. While still sizzling hot from the oil, the crispy wings are tossed into the addictive sticky, salty, sweet, gingery glaze, then dusted with fresh pepper and sesame seeds. And magically, they stay crisp for up to half an hour.
While they’re perfect as they are, if you like a little added zing like my spice-loving offspring, just add a sprinkle of Shichimi Togarashi, a hot and spicy Japanese blend of seven herbs and spices, to your Nagoya-style chicken wings and they’re the very definition of finger-licking good.