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Susan Feniger's Tatsutage Fried Chicken with Spicy Yuzu Mayonnaise

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[Photograph: Jennifer May]

Homemade fried chicken often intimidates even the most seasoned home cooks. Be it the large pot of bubbling oil or the challenge of properly cooking the bird, it's often a task thought best left to the professionals.

Enter Susan Feniger's Tatsutage Fried Chicken from Street Food. Not only does her chicken present bold Japanese flavor, but it also takes all of the guesswork out of the equation. First, the chicken is marinated in a soy-ginger-mirin mixture to keep the bird moist and well seasoned. Next, it is baked in the oven, which both ensures fully cooked meat and renders out the fat from the skin (for an extra crisp coating). Finally, the cooked chicken gets a quick dunk in a tempura-like batter seasoned with fuikake and is fried just until the batter turns golden. Although it's not a quick process, Feniger's technique was certainly the least nerve-wracking route to extra-crisp fried chicken.

Why I picked this recipe: Fried chicken is so hot right now, and I'm not one to turn down a new twist on the dish.

What worked: The technique was easy to follow; the chicken emerged from the fryer moist, well seasoned, and with a crunchy seaweed-flavored coating to boot. The yuzu mayonnaise was a killer dipping sauce (not to mention sandwich spread for leftovers).

What didn't: The sweet marinade had a tendency to burn in the oven. I'd pat the pieces dry before baking. Feniger's timing for heating the frying oil was remarkably short; it took me 15 to 20 minutes (as opposed to her 4 to 5) to heat my pot to 350°F.

Suggested tweaks: It'd be easy to play with seasonings in the batter—powdered ginger would work well, as well as sesame or even bonito flakes.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Susan Feniger's Street Food to give away.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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