I love fried chicken, especially when it’s done well. Just the idea of hot, crispy, deep-fried chicken skin and moist, juicy meat makes my mouth water. I’m making myself hungry just thinking about it! It’s one of my ultimate trashy comfort foods and it always makes my tummy do the happy dance.
Fried chicken makes David Chang do the happy dance too. He’s a self-professed fried chicken lover. The man must love fried chicken to have come up with his duo of fried chicken feast. I was lucky enough to eat said feast the last time I was in NYC and I have to say: it was pretty mind-blowing. The Korean-style chicken was so crunchy and crispy, yet juicy and tender. I was a little disappointed that the Korean-style fried chicken recipe wasn’t in the book, but I have high hopes for this fried chicken in octo vin.
The recipe calls for a whole chicken, but I went with just drumsticks because Mike loves drumsticks and also because eating a whole chicken between the two of us probably wouldn’t be a good idea. If this fried chicken is as good as I think it’s going to be, we’d definitely polish it off in one sitting and then spend the rest of the night in a fried chicken food coma. Somehow I don’t think that’s a good idea.
The fried chicken starts off with brining, of course. Momofuku recipes love brining meat and this fried chicken is no exception. Truly, brining is the way to go, especially if you have the time. The meat is more moist, flavourful and all around delicious regardless if you’re going to be frying it or not.
After brining the chicken in a salt, sugar, water combo, the chicken is steamed and then chilled on a rack in the fridge overnight. The chilling process dries out the chicken skin so that when it is fried, the dry skin will becomes extra crispy.
The chicken skin really did dry out overnight. Not too sure if Chang wanted the chicken uncovered, but I’ve had issues with deep-frying and water before, so the drier the item going into hot oil, the safer I feel. The chicken was deep-fried at 375˚F in grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil is awesome for frying because of it’s high smoking point.
The chicken fried up really quickly with the skin turning a beautiful, burnished brown. A quick toss in octo vinaigrette and the chicken was good to go. This fried chicken is one of the better fried chickens I’ve made at home. I’m pretty paranoid about home-fried chicken because there have been times when my oil has been too hot and I’ve ended up with burnt raw chicken. That’s why this recipe rocks: steaming then frying is brilliant!
The chicken was everything I wanted it to be: shatteringly crisp chicken skin, juicy meat, finger-licking vinaigrette dressing. Oh, and in case you were wondering, we didn’t eat all the drumsticks in one sitting, but Mike did polish off the leftovers for a midnight snack.
Note: If you’ve never deep-fried before, here are some tips for you:
1. Make sure you have clothes on, preferably long sleeves, oil has a tendency to splatter when the water content in what you’re frying hits the hot oil.
2. Tongs are your friends.
3. Make sure you turn your exhaust fan on and open some windows.
4. A thermometer helps you monitor the heat of the oil so your food isn’t absorbing oil at a low temperature. Ideally your oil should be between 365˚-375˚F.
5. Don’t crowd the pan. Putting in too many items will cause the oil temperature to drop and you will end up with greasy, soggy food.
6. Decrease splattering by making sure what you’re deep-frying is dry and at room temperature.
Ok, this post made me hungry. Its time to make and eat more chicken!