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.
Reprinted with permission from Susan Feniger's Street Food by Susan Feniger. Copyright 2012. Published by Clarkston Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:4 hours
- 2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 cups mirin (rice wine)
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey, warmed
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- Olive oil spray
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging
- 1/3 cup rice flour
- 2 tablespoons furikake
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups sparkling water
- Canola oil, for frying
- Spicy Yuzu Mayonnaise, for serving
In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar, honey, garlic, and ginger. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat them with the marinade. Cover the bowl, set it in the refrigerator, and let the chicken marinate for 2 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and arrange them, skin side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is poked with the tip of a knife. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside to cool while you prepare the batter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, rice flour, furikake, and salt. Slowly whisk in the sparkling water until you have a light, smooth batter.
Fill a 5- to 6-inch-deep heavy-bottomed pot with enough canola oil to reach halfway up the sides. (Remember, the oil will expand and rise as it heats.) Heat the oil over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until a drop of batter floats immediately and a deep-frying thermometer registers 350°F.
Put some all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl. Coat each piece of chicken with the flour, tapping off any excess, and then dip the floured chicken in the batter. Working in batches, drop the battered chicken into the hot oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Remember, the chicken is already cooked—you are simply frying to create a crispy shell. Remove the chicken from the oil and drain it on paper towels.
Serve immediately, with the spicy yuzu mayonnaise alongside.