Father's Day is June 16

For this month's Conbini Creations, I wanted to make a recipe using the Youki Shisen Tobanjan, a spicy Sichuan-style chili paste that we carry at Umami Mart. Made with chili peppers and fermented broad beans, tobanjan is often used in mapo tofu recipes, or simply added into noodle soups to add a healthy, warming spice. A small dab also adds a ton of deep chili flavor. But I thought that tobanjan could also make a good hot wing alternative ingredient.

After a little Googling, I came upon a recipe by Tadashi Ono from his book Japanese Soul Cooking that uses tobanjan to make Nagoya Tebasaki, or Japanese chicken wings. Unfortunately, chicken wings are usually fried, and I wasn't in the mood to deal with the deep fryer. So, I Googled a little more and came upon another recipe for crispy baked chicken wings. I decided to take the best ideas from both recipes and come up with an adapted version to create my Miso-Tobanjan Chicken Wings. I hope you'll give them a try!

Miso-Tobanjan Chicken Wings

Serves 2-3


1 1/2 lb chicken wings
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp tobanjan (try this one!)
1 tbsp miso paste
4 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp sake
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp sugar

Chopped green onions (optional, for garnish)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)


1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.


2. Combine first six ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir thoroughly and heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and seat aside.


3. Put chicken wings in a mixing bowl. Mix together baking powder, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and add 1/2 the mixture to the wings. Stir until wings are coated and add the rest of the powder mixture. Stir again.


4. Place wings onto wire-rack lined oven sheet and place into preheated oven for 20 minutes.


5. Turn wings over and return to oven for 20 more minutes. There might be some visible baking powder on the wings. Don't worry – this is normal. The chicken fat from the skin will get rid of that.


6. Turn one more time and bake for another 15 minutes, until the wings are crispy and lightly golden. The skin should have a nice crispy feel to them.

7. Transfer wings to a mixing bowl and add about a tablespoon or two of the sauce to the bowl and combine. The sauce is pretty salty, so add sparingly at first. You can always add more, and there's enough sauce that you can set aside as a dipping sauce, should you want more.


8. Sprinkle wings with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.


Conbini Creations is an experiment in cooking with ingredients found in the conbini, or convenience store section, of Umami Mart’s Oakland retail shop.