Momofuku’s Fried Chicken

Simple fried chicken :)
Simple fried chicken 🙂

I googled “different kinds and recipes of fried chicken” and on the second page of links, I found this. I have no idea what momofoku is and had to do some research (I want to do some of their Milk Bar recipes) and found out that it is a group of restaurants holding the same name, in which they practice the same techniques. Or something like that. But I’m not yet that interested and I have yet to spend a full 20 minutes reading up on this, but I decided to try the chicken recipe anyway.

I am familiar with the boiling concept (with my mom’s belief that everything good is actually boiled first before anything else). It works as long as you keep the boiling water flavorful and seasoned. It produced tender EVERYTHING. But this one was steaming. So how different is steaming with boiling? Well, the flavor of the meat, or chicken in this case, doesn’t leech out to the broth, keeping it in the chicken. Sure, some of the flavor drips out, but it is mostly retained. And also, this is a gentler way of cooking it. I mean, how hot can steam get? (Hot enough to cook and tenderize chicken, apparently.)

So first, the chicken was brined. A famliar step. But since I discovered I was making this for lunch at around 9.30 am, I was only able to brine it for an hour. Then it was steamed for another 40 minutes, and fried. It took about 2 1/2 hours to do everything, but not tedious since it was one step, brine, next step, steam, then fry. Oh yeah, I fried it straight from the steamer because it was, after all, for lunch. The cooling process in the recipe called for it so that the chicken won’t be wet. I got splattered more than once (which is already too many) because of the seeping water.

Verdict? Chicken at its simplicity. The skin is light and crunchy, the meat is flavorful and moist. They were good. The sauce was good, but I would survive without the sauce. Not that it was bad, but having done so much to keep the flavor of the chicken, pouring sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce seems to defeat the purpose.

As copied from the linked site

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • One 3- to 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 4 pieces – 2 legs, 2 breast halves with wings attached
  • 4 cups grapeseed or other neutral cooking oil
  • Octo Vinaigrette (Recipe follows)

Method:

  1. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in a large container with a lid or a large freezer bag, and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the chicken to the brine, cover or seal, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and no more than 6.
  2. Set up a steamer on the stove. Drain the chicken and discard the brine. Put the chicken in the steamer basket (if you are using a stacking Chinese-style bamboo steamer, put the legs in the bottom level and the breast on the top). Turn the heat to medium and set the lid of the steamer ever so slightly ajar. Steam the chicken for 40 minutes, then remove it from the steamer and put it on a cooling rack to cool. Chill it in the refrigerator, preferably on the rack, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you fry it.
  4. In a deep skillet, heat enough oil for the chicken to be submerged to 375 ℉. Fry the chicken in batches, turning once, until the skin is deep drown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  5. Cut the chicken into a few pieces: cut the wing from the breast, cut the breast in half, cut through the knee to separate the thigh from the drumstick. Put in a large bowl, toss with the vinaigrette, and serve hot.

Octo Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh bird’s eye-chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1/4 tsp Asian sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Combine the garlic, ginger, chile, vinegar, soy, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, sugar, and a few turns of black pepper in a lidded container and shake well to mix. This will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days, and is good on everything except ostrich eggs, which is really more the ostrich’s fault than the vinaigrette’s.

Note: When preparing the garlic and ginger for this recipe, make sure to take your time and work your knife skills: small, even pieces of garlic and ginger (not the mush that a garlic press or a ginger grater creates) really make a difference. Big bits of raw garlic can have an acrid sting: chunks of ginger will deliver a too-spicy blast can be unpleasantly fibrous.

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7 thoughts on “Momofuku’s Fried Chicken

    1. And taste good as well. 🙂 No matter how lavish I get on food prep, somtimes, I would crave just for the meat, some salt and pepper. It wouldn’t be too bad either if that was in a form of a huge rib-eye steak. Hahaha 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by!

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