Crispy fried chicken wing with sesame 鶏手羽の唐揚げ
Broccoli with sesame dressing ブロッコリのごま和え
This is a Japanese version of an America classic “Buffalo wings” (sort of), although this is not hot at all. This is also a classic Izakaya or bar food. This recipe is originally from one of the Japanese cook books I have (すぐ作れる酒の肴とおつまみ p40、講談社). This one requires some preparation (which appears to happen often in Japanese cooking). Cut off wing tips and discard. Separate wing from drumett and cut slits in both pieces to ensure even cooking. The next is an interesting and important step (this step is the same as for the chicken skin yakitori preparation). Prepare boiling water with some sake and cook the wings for 10-15 minutes in low medium heat. Skim any scum that floats to the surface. Take the wings out and place on paper towels and let cool until you can handle them by hand. Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Mix equal amounts of potato starch 片栗粉 and bread flour 強力粉 (we are aiming for crunch but you can just use AP flour). Add sake and/or water and soy sauce (to taste) to make a batter with the consistency of a pancake batter (it needs to be a bit thick to cling to the wings. The day I made this batch, my batter was too thin). Coat and marinate the above chicken wings in the batter for 5-10 minutes. Coat each pieces with white or black sesame seeds (here I used white sesame for the wings and black sesame for the drumetts). Deep fry to crisp the skin. The chicken is already cooked so use a bit higher temperature and fry until the skin gets crispy. You need not to worry about cooking it through. Although I have not done so, I suppose you can do the boiling step ahead of time and fry them just before serving. Since it is already seasoned, no need for a dipping sauce. The result, crunchy outside and juicy inside.
To accompany this dish, I made a very simple broccoli dish in the category of “goma-a-e” ごま和え using sesame paste as a main ingredient of the dressing. Blanch broccoli floweretts in salted water and shock them in ice cold water to stop cooking at your desired doneness (we like it bit crunchy) and pat dry using paper towels. In a small bowl or, in my case, a small “suribachi“, add Japanese creamed sesame paste 練りごま (if this is not available use tahini), sugar, soy sauce and a small amount of rice vinegar (this will lighten the color of dressing as well as add some subtle sourness) until the dressing reaches desired consistency (if vegetables are watery make it bit thick). Dress the broccoli and place additional dressing and sesame seeds on the top. “Goma-a-e” is classically done with green beans. Mark’s book has a more sophisticated version of this with green beans and fava beans (Mark’s book p36). I made the recipe in his book. It does add more dimension especially by soaking green beans in “happo-dashi” 八方だし. Next time I make the recipe I will remember to take a picture.