Tebasaki Style Fried Chicken

Tebasaki Style Fried ChickenTebasaki Style Fried Chicken With Sansho Pepper and Gochugaru
Yes, if you are a food buff you probably already know that tebasaki chicken wings are a particularly common dish found in and around Nagoya, Japan.

If you know any Japanese you probably know that tebasaki, (or debesaki) 手羽先, translates specifically to ‘chicken wings.’ With this in mind, I understand if you find my use of this technique and particular glaze to be a total abomination to the tradition of SOLELY using the very bony tips of a fowl’s wing.

However, I find it absolute rubbish to neglect the other tasty pieces of chicken just for the sake of tradition. Therefore, I am declaring it safe and entirely fare to make Tebasaki style fried wings and drumsticks!

As for technique: A fine layer of starch, preferably tapioca or potato, creates a just the right amount of crunch, without having to be fully breaded or battered, and the two-fry method ensures you get a fully cooked crispy piece that isn’t drenched with soggy oil.

This recipe is great for the whole family in that the only spice gets added as a garnish. So if your children or your grandma (or anyone in between) doesn’t do spicy, you’ve got them covered! The glaze is also great mixed in with rice or for dipping dumplings!

Tebasaki Style Japanese Fried Chicken

By: Semiserious Chefs
Serves:  3-4


  • 2 pounds of chicken wings or drumsticks
  • tapioca or potato starch
  • oil for frying
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup sake or michiu
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar*
  • 2 t honey*
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large garlic clove; minced
  • 2 t finely grated ginger
  • 1/8 t of pepper
  • toasted sesame seeds, sansho pepper, and gochugaru/red pepper flakes for garnish as desired

*You can replace the rice vinegar and honey with 1/3 cup of Mirin.


  1. Dredge each chicken wing or drumstick in tapioca or potato starch, to coat completely.
  2. Bring frying oil up to 300°F. Fry each wing/drumstick for 6-8 minutes, and allow to cool, momentarily, on a drying wrack over a sheet pan. Do not eat the chicken at this point. It should only be about 75% cooked. (You can also freeze them for later use, and simply thaw for 45 minutes before the second fry.)
  3. Bring oil temperature up to 350°F and fry each piece again for 10-12 minutes. Always check to make sure chicken is fully cooked before consuming.)
  4. While you chicken is having it’s second fry, add to a medium skillet the soy sauce, sake, rice vinegar, honey, brown sugar, minced garlic, ginger and pepper. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high heat, simmer for 3-4 minutes, and remove from heat.
  5. Immediately after your second fry, use tongs to roll each wing or drumstick in the glaze and allow to cool again on the wrack over a sheet pan. If you find the glaze to be less thick than desired, you can very easily add the skillet back to medium heat and roll your chicken in ever thickening sauce while it simmers.
  6. Sprinkle each piece with toasted sesame seeds, and sansho pepper and gochugaru/red chili flakes as desired.

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