Why We Spiked Our Wings With Umami
One wing to rule them all.
In the 55 years since the hot wing was born at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, it has become the definitive North American pub food. Wings have been a staple at Freehouse Collective pubs ever since the first draught line was connected back in the late 90s, but as the number of flavours on the menu grew and grew, so did the feeling that it was time to do something different.
So, in keeping with culinary goals of making fewer items, but each one of them great, we set out to create one amazing wing recipe that would replace the big list of flavours and become a signature dish.
The secret to chicken wings is that they deliver salt, fat, sugar, protein, and heat in one package. So our search for wing heaven began in the same place as the classic hot wing, where we knew we’d get lots of heat, sugar, and salt to act as a flavour base. We also wanted some of that rich, creamy mouthfeel that Buffalo Wings deliver, so we decided to add butter to the sauce as well.
“The secret to chicken wings is that they deliver salt, fat, sugar, protein, and heat in one package.”
Most of our favourite dishes have a healthy savouriness to them, so we spiked the whole mix with Sambal Oelek, the umami-rich Indonesian chilli shrimp paste. Then we added some fresh cilantro for herbaceousness. Our Red Chilli Wings are served with a house-made Sriracha Parmesan Aioli, because we believe wings were made to be dipped.
If you’re a home-wing chef looking for a new recipe, we figure we’ve given you plenty of hints on where to start. Still, we strongly recommend finding a spot at any of the Freehouse pubs in Vancouver or Toronto to taste our Red Chilli Wings, because there are still a few secrets we haven’t revealed.