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David Chang fried chicken Momofuku recipes

Cook the Book: Momofuku – Fried Chicken

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.

RECIPES

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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Ad Hoc Foodbuzz fried chicken reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Fried Chicken and Waffles

When the prospect of participating in Foodbuzz’s monthly 24, 24, 24 arose again a couple weeks ago, the first thing that popped into my head was throwing a chicken and waffles party. Fried chicken and waffles is one of my favorite meals in the whole world, and being from Southern California, I was first introduced to this combination at the world-famous Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood. Personally, I think Roscoe’s waffles are much better than their chicken, and the real secret to Roscoe’s greatness is in their amazing syrup.

thigh and waffleRoscoe’s Chicken and Waffles

When I moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area 10 years ago, it was hard to find a decent substitute, and the Roscoe’s that was in Oakland at the time was a substandard knock off of the L.A. original. Over the last few years, chicken and waffle options in the Bay Area have improved, especially when the Home of Chicken and Waffles, which was originally slated to be an official Roscoe’s franchise before the owners decided to do their own thing, opened a few years ago in Oakland’s Jack London Square. It still isn’t Roscoe’s, but it satisfies the craving.

A classic combinationHome of Chicken and Waffles

The most decadent versions of chicken and waffles I’ve had have been at Sunday brunches at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville. Ad Hoc’s fried chicken is so popular that it has developed a cult following and is the featured entree at the restaurant on alternating Mondays. The recipe was first published in Food and Wine magazine a couple years ago and my post about making the fried chicken is one of the most visited pages on this site.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken and WafflesAd Hoc Fried Chicken and Waffles

On a recent trip to Williams Sonoma, I stumbled upon a display featuring the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit, a recent expansion of Thomas Keller’s exclusive line of products for the retail chain…

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit

…that also includes the Bouchon Bakery line of products.

Bouchon Waffles

When I saw the Bouchon Bakery Yeasted Waffle mix, I decided that this 24, 24, 24 event was going to turn into a throwdown: the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit v. Ad Hoc fried chicken from scratch and the Bouchon Bakery Yeasted Waffles mix v. the Best (and Easiest) Yeasted Waffle by Sheryl at Crispy Waffle.

I met Sheryl on Twitter after she started following me, and her blog immediately got my attention because I had been looking for a good waffle recipe since inheriting a Krups Belgian Waffle Maker last year from a friend. Her “Easiest, Crispiest, Yeasted Waffle” recipe really lived up to its name and it’s the recipe I always turn to when I get a waffle craving. (See my Crispy Waffle post from March.)

Chicken Showdown
I deviated from both recipes instructions by cooking the chicken sous vide before dredging and frying. I do this because I’m paranoid about undercooking chicken, and cooking it sous vide for an hour at around 140F/60C ensures that the chicken is cooked and helps keep it juicy. This allows me to focus solely on the color of the fried chicken when it’s frying in the oil.

Water bathVacuum sealed chicken taking an hour-long, 141F/61C(ish) “bath”
Post-Sous Vide chickenIt doesn’t look that appetizing fresh out of the water bath, but after dredging and frying, it’s heaven.

On the surface, both batches of fried chicken I made looked identical, but on flavor, the scratch recipe beat the kit by a mile. The main difference between the scratch recipe and the kit is in the brine. The scratch recipe’s brine calls for fresh herbs and spices, honey and lemons, and these flavors really come through in the final product.

Fried ChickenThe “scratch” batch of fried chicken.

The fried chicken kit relies on a brine packet of dried spices and seasonings instead of fresh, but the most glaring omission was the lack of lemons. As a result, everyone who tried the kit’s fried chicken said it had a strong pepper flavor. I wonder if lemon powder could have made a significant difference, but I think the inclusion of fresh lemon zest and juice into the brining liquid would have been a pretty simple step for most home cooks.

Waffle Throwdown
Although we were dealing with two yeasted waffle recipes, there were a couple differences in how they’re put together. Sheryl’s recipe uses dry instant yeast and calls for a refrigerated overnight rise, while the Bouchon mix uses active dry yeast that is proofed for 10 minutes before mixing the batter and has a rising time of 90 minutes. Sheryl also adds a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract to her batter.

The Bouchon Bakery mix produces waffles that are incredibly light and more delicate than Sheryl’s waffle, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences. Personally, I found them to be a little too airy, but I was still astonished at how light and crispy they were.

Bouchon WaffleBouchon Bakery Waffle

That doesn’t mean Sheryl’s waffle was heavy by an means. It was still light and crispy but had just a little more weight and texture (dare I say gravitas?) than the Bouchon Bakery waffle, as well as a creaminess in the middle that every good Belgian waffle should have.

IMG_0677Sheryl’s Crispy Waffle

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Belgian waffles, preferring the thinner traditional waffles like the ones they serve at Roscoe’s. I even picked up a traditional waffle iron to test out some buttermilk and cornmeal waffle recipes to serve along side the yeasted waffles, but I couldn’t find one that I liked enough to feature alongside the fried chicken. Sourdough waffles are generally served at Ad Hoc, but I didn’t have a sourdough starter on hand (or the time to start one), so I tabled that for another time.

If there’s one thing I learned during my research, it’s that I really like Belgian waffles now, especially the yeasted variety, and I am now in the market for a better Belgian waffle iron, preferably one that flips. I think I’ll save the traditional waffle iron for moffles.

Thanks to Foodbuzz for helping to make this event possible. I had a lot of fun researching and cooking one of my favorite meals for my friends. Plus, we generally have a hard time getting this group of friends to come up to Ad Hoc with us, so this was a way that I could bring a small piece of our favorite restaurant home for them to experience. But most of all, I hope it inspires you to seek out fried chicken and waffles wherever you live, or better yet, make it yourself! :)

Categories
fried chicken reviews soul food Southern California

Steady Grubbin’ at M&M Soul Food – Los Angeles, CA

Last time we were in LA, we met up with our friends Don and Cristy for dinner. When I asked Don where we should meet up, he said, “How about M&M’s?” I thought I hadn’t heard of M&M’s, but when Don told me it was the soul food place that was immortalized in the Ice Cube song “Steady Mobbin’,” the lyrics instantly popped in my head:

Since one time’s so hot
Got me stash spot in the hooptie for the glock
And I’m rollin’ on rims
Eating soul food, neckbones from M&M’s

Now we didn’t order any neckbones, and honestly, I don’t remember seeing them on the menu, but if I can say one thing about M&M’s, if it’s smothered in gravy, it’s probably good.

They were out of short ribs by the time we got there, so I got the smothered oxtails instead. The oxtails were almost falling off the bone and as you can see, portions at M&M’s are generous.

Smothered OxtailsSmothered Oxtails
Categories
barbecue chicken Filipino

Filipino Barbecue Skewers

One of my most enduring food memories is grubbing on skewer after skewer of Filipino Barbecue, but it wasn’t until my friend asked me to cook for her son’s 2nd birthday yesterday that I even thought of making it myself.

Filipino BBQ Chicken SkewersChicken Skewers

Filipino Barbecue is usually made with pork or chicken. and the marinade is a combination of salty, sweet and citrus components. Many recipes call for 7-Up or Sprite, which works as a sweetener and tenderizer. I found a recipe that I liked and made some adjustments and additions to come up with this marinade. I’ll probably tweak this a bit more when I make it again, but here’s what I used yesterday.

Filipino Barbecue Marinade
1 cup soy sauce
1 head garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of kalamansi juice or lemon juice
1 cup of lemon-lime soda
2 cups of tanglad (lemon grass) for whole chicken
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
3 tablespoons of brown or white sugar

This marinade works best with a 2-3 pounds of chicken or pork cut into cubes. If you use chicken, my preference is for thighs, but breast meat should work fine if you don’t like dark meat. It’s best to marinate the meat for only a couple hours instead of overnight, and then skewer the meat and grill it until it’s done.

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Chicago fried chicken Korean reviews

Crisp

Korean fried chicken (KFC) is a favorite topic of mine, as seen here, here, here, and here. But KFC was the last thing on my mind when I started planning this trip until I started reading about Crisp on various food blogs and Web sites. So on our second day in Chicago, having tackled White Castle and Greek food the night before, I skipped out on the city’s pizza, hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches and headed to Lakeview for some KFC.


Crisp

The essence of Korean fried chicken lies in its sauces and Crisp has three different offerings (Crisp BBQ, Seoul Sassy, and Bud’s Buffalo). We ordered two whole chickens and went for the Crisp BBQ and the Seoul Sassy.

The Crisp BBQ is a Korean sauce that’s got a mild heat, which was nice because other spicy KFC sauces I’ve had have totally blown out my taste buds. If you’re like us and like trying different flavors of KFC, then you’ll appreciate that even more. The heat does linger on your tongue, and I love that.


Crisp BBQ

As much as we liked the Crisp BBQ sauce, the Seoul Sassy was our favorite. The ginger, garlic, and soy-based sauce was excellent, one of my favorite KFC sauces ever. This basket of chicken disappeared faster than that Crisp BBQ.

Seoul Sassy

Sauces aside, the most important thing about this fried chicken is that it lives up to its name. The chicken skin is crispy, despite being drowned in sauce, and it’s juicy too. I’m pretty confident that most fried chicken fans could order the sauceless Plain Jane chicken and be very happy.

We got a chance to talk to Jae Lee, one of Crisp’s owners, and he was really cool. I told him that we don’t have Korean Fried Chicken like this in the SF Bay Area and that this rivaled the KFC we had in New York. Jae told us that he went to New York as part of his research and sampled pretty much everything they had to offer. Because of our conversation, our next New York trip is going to feature a trip to Unidentified Flying Chickens in Jackson Heights. But if you’re in Chicago, definitely check out Crisp if you’re looking for some excellent Korean fried chicken.

As their slogan says, “The bird is the word.”

INFORMATION
Crisp
2940 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
877.693.8653
Web site

Categories
Ad Hoc fried chicken Northern California reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 9/17/08 (Anniversary Dinner)

It was our third wedding anniversary, Thomas Keller was in the house, and it was fried chicken night at Ad Hoc. Not a bad way to celebrate.


Salad of Petite Romaine Hearts
marinated white anchovies, pickled red onions
torn garlic croutons, creamy anchovy dressing

~

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
tfl garden cucumber salad
country style whipped potatoes

~

The Cheese Board
marshall’s farm honey
spiced nuts

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Parfait
house made granola, black mission figs
vanilla cream

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I also found out that our anniversary is the day after Ad Hoc’s anniversary (it was their second) and may explain why Keller was in town. Our waiter, Dan, said Keller was at Ad Hoc three nights in a row, and when I asked why they also served fried chicken last Monday, he said Keller was hosting some friends and they wanted to eat fried chicken. Add that to the normal Wednesday night fried chicken and fried chicken night tomorrow, and that’s three fried chicken nights in eight days. If you’re an Ad Hoc fried chicken junkie…it’s been a good week.

Categories
Ad Hoc fried chicken recipes Thomas Keller

KFC featured in September Bon Appétit

coverNo, not Kentucky Fried Chicken or even my beloved Korean Fried Chicken…I’m talking about Keller Fried Chicken.

Nearly a year after Food and Wine magazine published Thomas Keller’s Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken Recipe, the September 2008 issue of Bon Appétit magazine features another version of Keller’s fried chicken.

It’s no secret that I really love Keller’s fried chicken. I’ve had it at Ad Hoc on several occasions (Mothers’ Day, New Year’s Eve Brunch, Fried Chicken Night), and I’ve even gone into the kitchen to make it for family and friends (Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Recipe, Comfort Food Christmas).

Conceptually, the Bon Appétit recipe for Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken is very similar to the Food and Wine version—brine, double dredge, fry. The proportions are a little different, and I’m sure Keller is always tweaking his recipes anyway.

I’d transcribe this recipe for y’all to read, but it hasn’t made its way to bonappetit.com yet. You can always pick up the magazine next time you’re at the grocery store and after reading the recipe and checking out the pictures, you might even be tempted to start adding a few more items to your shopping cart.


Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Do it. You know you want some.

(Thanks to Susannah at Amuses Bouche for this tip!)

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dessert fried chicken fried rice Peruvian reviews Southern California

Mario’s and MILK

We just spent another long weekend in SoCal, where we amazingly escaped the oppressive 100+ heat of the Bay Area for much more manageable high 80s/low 90s temperatures (and 70s overnight). My wife had to work Thursday and Friday, so we didn’t get to visit a couple places that were on our list, but we did get to revisit some old favorites.

On Thursday, we went back to Mario’s Peruvian and Seafood Restaurant in Hollywood and fell in love with the place again. I tried the Arroz Chaufa, a simple Peruvian fried rice with beef, green onions, and scrambled eggs that didn’t look like much on the plate, but when you eat it, the flavors really jump out at you. It’s probably because the dish also included MSG, which I’ve got no issues with since it makes everything taste better. Thank you, Ajinomoto, for your umami-enhancing seasoning.


Arroz Chaufa

After Mario’s, I was set on going to Pinkberry for dessert, but I seemed to be the only one. My friend Alfie suggested that we go to MILK. Alfie lives nearby, and she’s become such a regular that MILK chef/owner Bret Thompson greets her whenever she drops by. We got to meet him when we were there, and he’s a really cool, laid-back guy.

I wasn’t able to order for myself since I was trying to find parking (probably MILK’s only drawback), but my wife made some great choices. She picked up a Grasshopper, an amazing ice cream sandwich featuring mint chip ice cream between two huge mint-flavored macarons and dipped in chocolate.


Grasshopper

She also got the Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Bar, a vanilla ice cream bar on a stick that’s dipped and coated in chocolate and Oreos.

Cookies and Cream Bar

It’s hard not to come down to LA and spend all of our limited eating time at either Mario’s or MILK, but both places are so good that they demand repeat visits. But this was just day one of our trip, and we were still planning a trip back to The Oinkster.
 

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bakeries chicken fried chicken Northern California reviews sandwiches

Bakesale Betty

Our first trip to Bakesale Betty was kind of an accident. We had about 45 minutes to kill before our reservation at Pizzaiolo, and Bakesale Betty was still open, so we decided to walk over and see what was happening over there. We’d heard about their famous fried chicken sandwiches, but with dinner looming, we decided to have dessert first. Nothing wrong with that, right?

We split a really big strawberry shortcake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. It was nice and light, and we didn’t want to fill up before dinner. I had to get a chocolate cupcake and it was pretty good. The cake was a little dry, but the chocolate buttercream was great, extremely light and perfect (buttercream is usually a big turnoff for me). I washed it down with a lemon ice that was nice and tart, just the way I like them.


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We also got some pastries for breakfast the next day (pear ginger scone for my wife, lemon raisin scone for me), and two handheld chicken pot pies. The scones were excellent, but I want to talk about the chicken pot pies. You just pop them in the oven for 45 minutes and you’re rewarded with an amazing handheld meal. I never knew a chicken pot pie could be this good…it was one of the best things I’ve eaten in weeks.

We had Betty’s famous fried chicken sandwich on our next visit and when paired with a lemon ice and some cookies, it’s a perfect summer lunch. The bread is fresh and the perfect boneless fried chicken breast is topped with a really nice vinegary cole slaw. It’s a very messy sandwich and you could argue that there’s a little too much slaw, but overall, it’s an excellent combination. The egg salad sandwiches are pretty good, too, but if given a choice, the fried chicken sandwich wins every time.

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Ad Hoc chicken fried chicken Northern California reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – Mother’s Day Brunch

We weren’t with our mothers this year, but I’m sure they would have loved this brunch… :-)

MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH

Smoked Trout Salad
Romaine spears, celery hearts, toasted walnuts,
fuji apples, creamy pepper dressing

~

Fried Chicken-n-Waffles
wilted spinach, slow cooked hen egg,
hobb’s bacon, vermont maple syrup

~

Strawberries and Cream
strawberries, mascarpone cream, shortbread cookie.

 

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