Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: David Chang's Momofuku Fried Chicken with Octo Vinaigrette

I confess, I have not yet been to any of David Chang's Momofuku restaurants (my husband has though!) but I've been dying to get to Momofuku noodle bar and try out the fried chicken and other dishes there.  It's pretty high up on my list of pricy New York restaurants to try, or to fucking try, as Chang would say (he swears quite a bit as noted in this humorous Huffington Post article). Anyhow, I decided to try making Chang's Fried Chicken with Octo Vinaigrette, from the Momofuku cookbook to see how it stacks up next to Thomas Keller's buttermilk fried chicken from Ad Hoc at Home.  I've got to say, this might be my new favorite fried chicken recipe ever. They way I followed the recipe, it is fried, but not as deeply fried, which is just perfect. Plus, the octo vinaigrette that goes on top of Chang's chicken might just be the most delicious chicken dressing ever! The brine here is key with both recipes - it gives the chicken the most moist, succulent flavor ever. This was a winner with my whole family and I plan to make it again next week.

One thing i should note that I did differently. Chang calls for steaming the chicken then deep frying. I really wanted to do this, but my steamer was too small and I would have been cooking the chicken in batches until about midnight the night I made this. So, we would up baking at a low temperature, and then frying the chicken. I was worried it would not be as juicy if I did this, but my husband insisted because he was hungary and low and behold it was still amazing. So read on for the full recipe!

David Chang's Momofuku Fried Chicken with Octo Vinagirette

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 - (I used a four pound whole chicken cut into eight pieces, but you can also use all wings and legs if you prefer)
4 cups grapeseed or other neutral cooking oilOcto Vinaigrette

David Chang's 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) - I substituted light soy sauce
2 tbsp 
grapeseed or other neutral oil
1/4 tsp Asian sesame oil (this makes the dressing what it is!)
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
Fresh ground black pepper

First, brine the chicken. Combine the water, kosher salt and sugar in a large pot with a lid and dissolve the ingredients in the pot. Add the chicken pieces and brine in a refrigerator for at least one and no more than six hours. I found that 4 hours was perfect. 

Set up a steamer on the stove. Drain the chicken and discard the brine. Put the chicken in the steamer basket. 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. I must add that I instead baked the chicken at 300 degrees instead of steaming, and it worked out just fine, so don't be afraid to do this if you need to. 

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and allow to set for thirty minutes before frying.In a deep skillet, heat enough oil for the chicken to be submerged to 375 degrees. 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 the excess oil. I fried the chicken in grapeseed oil, as recommended, which was lovely!

Combine the ingredients for the Octo Vinaigrette in a bowl. Make sure the garlic and ginger are chopped or pureed finely (I bought them pre-chopped).  Top the chicken with this delicious vinaigrette and enjoy!


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