Apparently there’s some sort of big game coming up? I wanna say… football? American football, so it’s the kind where burly men wear helmets and tight pants and whack each other on the bums a lot. (Don’t even get me started on Canadian football. It’s essentially the same sport but with a curiously different sized field and significantly fewer teams.)
I try to care about the Super Bowl, I really do. In all honestly, though, I’m just here for the food. It still makes the day worth looking forward to in my books. Seven layer dip, wings, pizza- the Super Bowl is to savoury junk food as Valentines Day is to sweets (guess which one I like better? 😉 )
The classic smorgasbord of greasy, delicious, finger-licking… oh my god. Having to watch a game that I don’t understand, one that seems to stop the clock more than it runs it, is a small price to pay. As long as I have a plate of chicken wings in front of me, I would watch just about anything.
In times like these, it’s important to a) sample everything and b) pick your favourites. It’s just a fact of life- your stomach only has so much capacity. Let’s look at this like a science experiment, shall we? (because I’ve been writing technical pieces for work all day and I just re-watched Breaking Bad)
To best maximize your snacking happiness quotient (SHQ), you have to first determine what are the best dishes on offer. Sometimes, you can tell this right away. I know having a giant seven layer dip always lands points with me. It’s hard to boot a seven layer dip out of the top tier of game snacks.
Okay, let’s say you have 6 dishes. You try them all at least once, taking up- let’s say… 20% of your maximum belly capacity. This seems like a lot, but it’s a worthwhile endeavour. What if you just stuck to the ones you knew you loved and then, when there was only one wing left, you discovered that was the best thing you had tasted? I mean, it would be pretty sad, right? One wing, when they were The Best Thing on Offer? Nah.
After determining your top two or three, focus on those. Switch it up every once in a while if you like, but if you know you’ll get the greatest happiness from a wing, what is really the point of filling yourself up with mediocre Sour Cream & Onion chips?
1 x (S1+S2+S3+S4+S5+S6) = Snacking Reconnaissance (SR) = 0.20 x Total Belly Capacity (TBC)
To make our math easy, let’s say TBC = 1 or 100%. RBC (Remaining Belly Capacity) would then equal 0.80.
SR + 0.80(S1 + S2) = Maximized SHQ
I could drag my rudimentary first year Econ into this and draw a graph showing the intersection where SHQ (Snacking Happiness Quotient) is maximized… but I think I’ve gone nerdy enough with this for one day. You get the idea. In my years of snacking experience, I have come up with one simple and fairly obvious conclusion: try everything, then fill your belly with your favourites. (duh)
Hey, it’s one day a year. If you’re going to get wet, you may as well go swimming.
So, you’re probably wondering why I decided to BAKE these wings then, instead of using the classic frying method. After all, I did just advise you to give’er. Well, for two reasons.
- The flavour and texture difference between baked and fried wings is nearly unnoticeable to the untrained snacker, yet the caloric difference is significant. Less calories per wing means I can eat more wings before getting full. That’s a no brainer.
- Unless you have a deep fryer built into your kitchen like Paula freaking Dean, frying things is a pain in the ass. There’s a lot of oil and mess and it’s dangerous and honestly- I will make the effort to deep fry some things, like fish and chips- but for wings, it’s way, way too much effort.
Soooo… on with the recipe, shall we? Bake the wings, because it’s quick and easy (and slightly healthier) and the chance you’ll burn your digits off while cracking a pre-game beer is greatly reduced. Everyone wins.
I adapted this recipe from my old Best of Bridge cookbook, known for really, really tasty recipes that are- well, not terribly good for you. It’s delicious, and there is butter everywhere, and it’s wonderful. But not today, ladies. Today, I’m taking the easy route.
I often serve these wings with a light cucumber salad as a refreshing palette cleanser. I’ll be honest, though, if I’m serving this on game day, the salad rarely gets touched soooo….
These are by no means traditional Japanese fare, so maybe I should be calling them ‘Japanese-inspired.’ No matter, whatever you call them, they’re utterly delicious. A little sweet, a little tangy, sticky, delicious. Finger licking good, and an excellent, crowd-pleasing alternative to hot wings for those who are inviting younger football fans or spice-novices.
My mum used to make these for my birthday parties when I was in elementary school and- for a bunch of fussy eaters (not me, obviously, I was teased for eating weird things- but some of my 8 year old companions)- they were always a huge hit. If that’s not a huge vote of confidence in this recipe, I don’t know what is.
“My picky 8 year old ate them! Yeahhhhh!” Ah, parenthood…
|Sweet & Sticky Japanese Chicken Wings|| || |
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari (for gluten-free, make sure your tamari is labelled as such)
- ¼ tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 1 kg chicken wings, wing tips trimmed
- Sesame seeds (garnish)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay wire baking racks on two large baking sheets and line the wings up on top. Bake for 30 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, combine all the glaze ingredients. Heat until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture becomes clear. Simmer for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
- Remove the wings from the oven and baste them with the glaze. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Baste again, and then cook for a final 10 minutes. Before serving, baste one last time and then sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.