Momofuku Fried Chicken with Octo Vinaigrette and Asian Style Slaw

image_1 by you.

OK this book is officially one of my all time favorites! Everything I have made has been excellent and there's only one dish I won't try because it involves a whole pigs head. Not that I'm opposed to whole pigs heads but I really don't want to make that effort. And I'm not sure my boyfriend is that open minded about cuts of meat you don't find at the grocery store. I suppose I should never say never though....

I wasn't looking for another fried chicken recipe but David Chang's version is supposed to be stupendous. And since I haven't shelved the book since I bought it I decided to make this one too.  I was wondering how it compared to the excellent Sukhamvit Soi Five Fried Chicken Recipe I made HERE. I loved that chicken!

As with Chang's pork recipes there are more steps with downtime; brining and steaming before frying and then tossing in a vinaigrette but it makes for some juicy fried chicken. The breast meat was not dry at all! I didn't fry in a pan because I like to use my Fry Daddy to avoid mess. So there!

The chicken was very good with the vinaigrette but I prefer a breaded skin.  My boyfriend agreed on that point but thought the chicken was excellent without breading and went back for seconds.

I served the chicken with Jasmine Rice and Dave Lieberman's most excellent Asian Style Slaw found HERE. Seriously if you don't try the chicken try the slaw. Yum!

Momofuku Fried Chicken

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 (I used 2 split breasts and 4 thighs)
4 cups grapeseed or other neutral cooking oil
Octo Vinaigrette (Recipe follows)

  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 375F. 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:

2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 fresh bird's eye-chili, 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
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.