Cook the Book: Momofuku – Fried Chicken

by arnold on November 19, 2009

Momofuku Week trudges on with a fried chicken recipe that’s my new favorite because it’s super easy and—as David Chang might say—fucking awesome. :)

Momofuku Fried Chicken

You might assume that this would be a recipe for Korean fried chicken (KFC), especially since Noodle Bar offers a bountiful platter of both Korean and American fried chicken for up to 8 people for $100. (If you think that’s expensive, it breaks down to $12.50 for 8 people, and in our ravenous group of 8, we had leftovers.) The fried chicken recipe from the Momofuku cookbook is quickly becoming an all-time favorite. It’s up there with the Ad Hoc fried chicken, but the two are so different that they live on their own perfect little islands.

Momofuku Fried Chicken PlatterNoodle Bar’s Fried Chicken Platter

The main reason this fried chicken hits home for me is the Octo Vinaigrette that’s used to dress the chicken before serving. The Octo Vin was originally designed as an accompaniment for a grilled octopus dish, but it works wonders on the fried chicken, as well. It’s not an ordinary vinaigrette because the oil/vinegar ratios are reversed, and it’s loaded with fresh garlic and ginger. The smell is enough to get me excited about eating this fried chicken.

Fried Chicken WingsWorks great on chicken wings, too!

Chang employs a three-step process for this fried chicken: brine, steam, and fry. This is similar to my modification of the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Recipe where I brine, sous vide, and fry the bird. The brine is a simple salt, sugar and water mixture and the brining time is anywhere between one and six hours. The chicken is then steamed for 45 minutes for so and then cooled for a couple hours. I took the steamed chicken and let it sit on a cooling rack in the fridge overnight. This helps dry out the chicken skin and helps it crisp up really nicely when it’s in the oil.

Take the chicken out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you want to cook them. Then fry the chicken in 350F oil for about 6-8 minutes. Since the chicken is already cooked, you really only need to fry until the skin reaches your desired level of crispiness. Remove the chicken from the oil and drain them on a rack or paper towels. Before serving toss the chicken in the Octo Vin and garnish with sliced green onions.


Fried Chicken Brine
Good for 3–3½ pounds of chicken. I prefer legs and thighs, but wings work, too.
4 cups lukewarm water
½ cup sugar
½ cup kosher salt

Octo Vinaigrette
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 small fresh jalapeno seeded and chopped, or 1 tbsp Sriracha
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup usukuchi (light soy sauce)
2 tbsp grapeseed or other neutral oil
¼ tsp Asian sesame oil
1½ tbsp sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Download PDF excerpts of these recipes (courtesy of Time Out New York):

Tomorrow: Roasted Rice Cakes

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Omid Tavallai November 19, 2009 at 2:10 am

Chicken wings are often hard to come by in Paris, since they’re typically taken part and parcel with the breast as part of a breast-wing quarter, both at the supermarket and butchers… So when I happen upon them, I buy them in bulk and have a wing-fest.

THIS will be perfect for the next such occasion.

So thank you for sharing this, and OMNOMNOMNOMNOM.


Connie November 21, 2009 at 8:56 am

Made the octo vin last week. Quite addictive. Would probably make a great marinade too. Love that chicken pic!


Arnold November 22, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Thanks, Connie. I think the Octo Vin is magical. :)


Mei January 5, 2010 at 10:14 pm

wooo awesome! thanks for posting the recipes. my sister did the whole chicken process twice and it rocked. YUM.


slefkovitz February 28, 2010 at 5:08 am

how do you use to steam so many pieces of chicken at one time?


Arnold February 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I have a really big wok and some large Chinese bamboo steamers.


David March 13, 2010 at 7:58 am

Arnold, I know they are both different but in your opinion what rocks more?

Sous Vide Fried Chicken or Momofuku Fried Chicken?


Arnold March 16, 2010 at 1:47 am

Such a hard question, David! As much as I love the Momofuku fried chicken, the Ad Hoc chicken wins out because all more effort goes into making it, but the end result is totally worth it.


Madam April 9, 2010 at 3:27 am

Fucking awesome is right. Thanks for this!


sarah March 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm

What’s the shelf life of the octo vin? Can u make a bunch and keep it in the fridge?


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