Categories
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

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.

Categories
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
chicken Filipino recipes

Chicken Adobo a la Cendrillon

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but one thing I really wanted to do this year is cook more Filipino food. I’ve never really cooked Filipino food, aside from attempts at chicken adobo in college or simple breakfasts of eggs and garlic fried rice with whatever meat was lying around (hot dogs, corned beef, SPAM, etc.) that reminded me of waking up on Sunday mornings to my dad’s cooking. Since I left home, my main connection to Filipino food has been at family parties around Christmastime or some of the restaurants that are all over the Bay Area.


chicken adobo

Adobo is the one Filipino food aside from lumpia and pancit that most non-Filipinos have heard of or tried, and it’s considered the national dish of the Philippines. There are so many variations on adobo and every Filipino’s experience with it is so personal that it’s impossible to have a definitive recipe. Sometimes the protein changes (chicken, pork, squid), the soy/sauce vinegar ratio is a matter of personal taste, and you can either cook off most of the braising liquid (like my dad) or leave plenty of sauce to spoon onto your rice (my preference).

A couple months ago, I picked up a copy of Memories of Philippine Kitchens, an excellent and beautiful cookbook written by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan of Cendrillon, a Filipino/Pan-Asian restaurant in New York City. While purists may be put off by Cendrillon’s fine dining and fusion pedigrees, the book is a comprehensive overview of Filipino cuisine and its diversity throughout the various regions in the Philippines.

Categories
Ad Hoc Best of Inuyaki chicken fried chicken recipes Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Recipe!

When I heard that Ad Hoc’s lemon-brined fried chicken recipe was in Food & Wine magazine, I got extremely excited. Normally, I wouldn’t go to the trouble of making this because I’d rather go to Ad Hoc (picture below) and spare myself the work, but I just had to see if I could pull this off.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Excerpt from Entertaining Napa Style in Food & Wine magazine:

To make this juicy and delectably crisp chicken, Thomas Keller soaks it in a lemony brine, then coats and fries it. The chicken, which is served every other Monday at Ad Hoc, is one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. “Since Fried Chicken Night only happens twice a month,” Keller says, “people have a wonderful sense of anticipation.”

UPDATE (2/25/08)
I’ve had the chance to make this fried chicken a lot in the last few months and have basically finalized it for myself in the updated recipe below. I’ve included a sous vide step, an updated ingredient list and double dredging. If you want to see the original recipe, see the link to Food & Wine magazine above.

ACTIVE TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
SERVES: 8

INGREDIENTS
16 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (I prefer dark meat, substitute as desired)
Cooking oil for frying (peanut if you have it.)
Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

BRINE INGREDIENTS
1 gallon cold water
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
12 bay leaves
1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
3 large rosemary sprigs
1 small bunch of thyme
1 small bunch of parsley
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

DREDGE INGREDIENTS
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a very large pot, combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and the lemon halves and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of cold water. Add the chickens, being sure they’re completely submerged, and refrigerate overnight.

    Lemony Brine
  2. Drain and rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Make sure the chicken is really dry and that you scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the skin.
  3. If you want to sous vide the chicken before frying, add two to three pieces of chicken to each Foodsaver bag, then vacuum and seal the bags. Place the chicken at 140F/60C water bath for at least 1 hour. Otherwise, skip to step 5.
  4. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Make sure chicken is very dry.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, ground black pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper or use a wire rack. Let sit for 20 minutes and then redredge the chicken in buttermilk and flour before frying.

    The Dredge
  6. In a very large pot or dutch oven, heat oil to 360F. Use enough oil to deep fry the chicken. If you want, you can also pan fry the chicken, as seen below. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches until golden and crunchy and the internal temperature is 160F/60C (about 20 minutes).

    Note: If you cooked the chicken sous vide, you can really just trust your judgement and fry until you’re statisfied with the color of the crust since the chicken is already cooked.


    Turn the chicken once
  7. Transfer the chicken to cooling rack to drain, and keep warm in a low oven (175–200F) while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the herb sprigs and serve hot or at room temperature.

    Ad Hoc's Fried Chicken

SOUS VIDE NOTES

  • Cooking the chicken sous vide ensures that it’s moist and tender.
  • 140F/60C may seem like a low temp for the chicken (160F/71.1C is considered “safe”), but the internal temperature of the chicken will rise when it’s being fried.

GENERAL NOTES

  • Chicken should be at room temperature when you’re ready to cook.
  • You can add herbs (rosemary, thyme, etc.) to the oil as it’s heating to infuse it with flavor and then use the same herbs as a garnish.
  • This fried chicken is great the next day, cold and straight out of the refrigerator.
  • See comments below for more tips…some come straight from the source!
Categories
beef chicken sous vide techniques

Adventures in Sous Vide

It was an incredible meal at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, CA, that introduced me to the concept of sous vide cooking. Sous vide is French for “under vacuum,” and in a cooking context, it means that food is vacuum packed and “processed” in a water or steam bath at a fixed temperature for a long period of time…sometimes 24 hours or more. The temperature of the food never rises above the temperature of the water, so it’s impossible to overcook the food.

For example, a 36 or 48-hour “braise” for short ribs (below) would be excessive using a traditional braise, but when it’s done sous vide, the vacuum packing allows the meat to maintain its original size and shape, the long cooking time lets the collagens in the meat break down, and it produces a final product that’s tender with a buttery texture and an intense, concentrated beef flavor you just can’t get from a old-school cooking methods.


short ribs

Sous vide cooking is simple in concept but harder to execute in real life because it either requires potentially expensive equipment or a lot of free time to babysit the food. The most important aspect is maintaining constant temperature; a variance of a degree or two can dramatically change the texture of the food. The most common way sous vide cooking is performed in high-end restaurants is by using a water bath that’s heated using an immersion circulator, a piece of laboratory equipment that both heats and circulates water so that the temperature remains constant.

Heated immersion circulators are not cheap; they can go for around $1,000 new, so we turned to everyone’s favorite garage sale (ebay) to get ours. We picked up a Julabo HC8 that’s so old it says “MADE IN WEST GERMANY” on the back. It’s digital which makes it easier to monitor, and there’s a whole bunch of other controls on it that I really don’t understand. But it turns on and it works, and that’s all that matters. We got it for $110 ($95 + $10 shipping).


Julabo heating circulator and water bath

Our vacuum sealer is a Tilia Advance Foodsaver v2490 BC from Costco, which I highly recommend because it has a “pulse” feature that lets you customize how much air you want to remove from the bag before sealing. Our water bath is a simple Lexan hotel pan (1/2 size x 6 inches) made by Cambro that I picked up at Smart & Final. They also had flip-top lids with an opening that was perfect (after popping off the lid) for suspending the Julabo above the water bath since ours didn’t come with any clamps or other mounting equipment.

The most information you’re going to find on sous vide on the Web is at the eGullet.org forums. The main sous vide thread has been around since 2004 and is filled with lots of great information on how to get started, recipes, and loads of tips, as well as the safety concerns that accompany this form of cooking.

Here’s some of the things we’ve made so far.

Rib Eye Steaks
Barbecue Chicken
Baby Back Ribs (Filipino-style Adobo and a traditional dry rub)
Beef Short Ribs
Seasoned Wild Turbot Fillets

I hope to chronicle some of our experiments here on the blog, so this list will grow, and links to these dishes are forthcoming.