An unusual delicious way to make fried chicken

I love when I get to try out new cooking tools and appliances for the first time. In this next recipe I had to purchase a Chinese bamboo steamer basket.  Well actually I have been eyeing these steamer baskets every time I shop at my Asian grocery store MultiFood, this next recipe gave me the excuse to finally purchase one.

The next recipe comes from a cookbook which is on my list of gift recommendations post, Momofuku!

The recipe tagged was for Fried Chicken.

As in any David Chang recipe in Momofuku the recipe is no ordinary recipe for what you would expect for a fried chicken recipe. As I have said before the recipes in Momofuku are more of like a science experiment that end up to be an out of this world tasty science experiment, so the work involved is worth it.

To start with I cut a whole chicken into 5 pieces, 2 leg/thigh pieces, 2 breast/wing pieces and one backbone piece. I placed the backbone piece in my bag of chicken bones I keep in the freeze to be used later to make chicken stock.

I made a brine of water, sugar and salt in a large Ziploc bag.

Then I placed my leg/thigh and breast/wing pieces into the Ziploc with the brine and refrigerated.

After 4 hours I removed the chicken from the brine and set up my new steamer basket. I put some water in a large skillet and heated over medium heat.  Then I placed my basket in the skillet, careful not to have the water level above the first level of the basket.  You can get a similar steamer basket to mine on Amazon.

I placed my leg/thigh pieces in the bottom tray of the basket.

And my breast/wing pieces in the top tray of the basket.

I left the lid slightly off and let the chicken steam for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile I made the sauce, called Octo Vinaigrette. Named because the vinaigrette was made to pair with octopus but David Chang says it tastes great on anything with the exception of an ostrich egg, which he says is the ostrich egg’s fault more than the vinaigrettes.

For the vinaigrette I mixed finely chopped garlic, finely chopped ginger (which it’s important to finely chop both of these), finely chopped pickled chile, rice wine vinegar, light soy sauce, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, sugar and pepper. I covered and refrigerated until the next day.

When the chicken was done steaming I removed it from the steamer and place it on a wire rack to cool. Once completely cool the chicken was covered and went in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day I removed chicken and the vinaigrette from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking. Then I heated grapeseed oil in my mini deep fryer…btw my mother in law is getting this same deep fryer for Christmas….oops…hope she’s not reading this post!

Once the oil was hot I placed chicken pieces in the deep fryer one at a time and cooked for 6-7 minutes.

I removed the chicken from the fryer and placed on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.

Once all the chicken was cooked I cut the chicken into smaller pieces and tossed in the octo vinaigrette.

How did it taste? Matt was the first to take a bite and immediately said “WOW!!”  This chicken was great!  I have never had such a juicy fried chicken before.  I give credit to that to the steaming because to my knowledge I have never had fried chicken which had been steamed first.  And the vinaigrette was an excellent paring!  I am really hoping that some of my readers attempt this one.  All and all it’s not all that hands on, you really just need to plan a bit in advance!

Steamed Fried Chicken
  1. 2 TB garlic, finely chopped
  2. 2 TB ginger, finely chopped
  3. 1 pickled chile, finely chopped (or subsitutie 1 fresh bird’s eye chile)
  4. ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  5. ¼ cup light soy sauce
  6. 2 TB grapeseed oil, plus around 4 cups for frying
  7. ¼ tsp sesame oil
  8. ½ cup plus 1 ½ tsp sugar, divided
  9. Fresh ground pepper
  10. ½ cup kosher salt
  11. 4 cups of lukewarm water
  12. 3-3 ½ lb whole chicken, cut into 4 pieces, keeping leg and thigh attached, breast and wing attached
  1. Make the vinaigrette by mixing garlic, ginger, chile, rice wine vinegar, light soy sauce, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, 1 ½ tsp of the sugar and a few grounds of pepper. It’s important to make sure the garlic and ginger are indeed finely chopped. The vinaigrette can be made 4 days ahead of time, covered and refrigerated.
  2. Make the brine by dissolving remaining ½ cup of sugar and salt in the water in a large Ziploc bag.
  3. Place chicken in the brine and refrigerate 4 hours.
  4. Set up a Chinese steamer basket, heat some water over medium heat in a large skillet. Place basket in the skillet, make sure the water does not reach the first try of the basket. Place leg/thigh pieces on the bottom tray, then place breast/wing pieces on the top try. Place the lid on the basket leaving it slightly open. Steam chicken for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from steamer and place on a wire rack. Cool completely then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Remove chicken and vinaigrette from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking. Heat grapeseed oil in deep fryer to 375 F.
  7. Cook chicken for 6-8 minutes until golden. (Do in batches if needed). Remove from deep fryer and place on a paper towel. Once all chicken has been fried cut into smaller pieces then toss in the vinaigrette and serve.
  1. serves 4
Adapted from Momofuku
Adapted from Momofuku
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