We’re inviting some of our trusted nonprofit and Star Chef partners to take over the Bon Appétit blog and share their best tips, recipes, and fun links. This week’s guest curator is Amy Kimoto-Kahn, the author of Simply Ramen and Simply Hot Pots, who blogs at easypeasyjapanesey; Amy has also visited Bon Appétit cafés such as SAP’s to share a recipe and sign books.
This recipe from Simply Hot Pots actually started as my attempt at making traditional chicken karaage, which is like Japanese fried chicken. But, it turned into a real test-kitchen experiment with different types of flours and trying to find the best batter and method to making crispy chicken that stayed crispy. I used katakuriko (Japanese potato starch), mochiko (Japanese rice flour), and regular all-purpose flour, and after days of trial and error, I concluded that chicken karaage really needs to be double-fried to stay crispy — which I just don’t think the average person wants to do! Nor do I, as a mom of three kids.
So… this is my cheater version that is equally crispy and flavorful, but doesn’t require double frying. This chicken is marinated much like karaage, so the chicken stays moist, tender, and flavorful, but I dip it in egg and panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and then deep-fry it. It comes out crispy and stays that way — for hours! Need to crisp it up? Pop it under the broiler or in the toaster oven for a bit. Can’t find katakuriko? No worries, we’re using panko, which is widely available.
Plus, my kids loved this and gobbled them right up and said “Mom, this chicken is delicious!” Thus the name.
Done. I need a nap.
Amy Kimoto-Kahn’s Chicken Delicious
Skill Level: Moderate
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus 2-8 hours to marinate)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
6 tablespoons shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
2 tablespoon agave nectar (honey will work)
2 tablespoon sake (rice wine)
One 1.5-inch-piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 spring onions or large scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced (see note)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2.5 pounds (around 8) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 4 or 5 uniform pieces
2 large eggs
3.5 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for frying (about 2 cups — enough to cover your large frying pan with 2 inches of oil)
lemon wedges for garnish
In a medium bowl, whisk the shoyu, agave, sake, grated ginger, garlic, spring onion, salt and pepper together until smooth.
Cut each chicken thigh into 4 uniform pieces and add to the marinade. Let marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Set a cooling rack in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
In a deep, straight-sided medium skillet, heat 2 inches of oil to 325 degrees. When the oil is hot, test the temperature by adding a small amount of batter to the hot oil. It should sizzle and fry up quickly.
In one shallow bowl, beat the eggs. In a second shallow bowl, spread the panko in an even layer. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, tap off any excess marinade, then dip it into the egg and then cover it with panko so it is thoroughly coated.
Working in batches and being careful not to crowd the skillet, add the chicken to the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to the prepared cooling rack, making sure none are touching and repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve warm or at room temperature and garnish with lemon wedges. The chicken will remain crispy for hours. Serve with Sesame Miso Sauce to dip.
Sesame Miso Dipping Sauce
The key to this rich, nutty sauce is to toast the sesame seeds beforehand. Pre-toasted sesame seeds are fine in a pinch, but I suggest toasting them a little further to enhance the flavor. The final swirl of sesame oil also amps up the bold sesame flavor. I like to keep a jar of this sauce on hand in the refrigerator because you can serve it with almost anything: a sauce for meats and vegetables fresh out of the hot pot, drizzled over a salad, as a dip for crudite or for dunking a crispy piece of ‘Chicken Delicious’ in.
Skill Level: Easy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1½ cups
1/2 cup white sesame seeds
1/2 cup shiro (white) miso
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
In a small skillet, toast the sesame seeds over low heat until fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Maintain a constant stir or swirl the seeds in the pan as they are cooking.
In a mortar and pestle,* crush the toasted sesame seeds into a fine powder.
In a blender, puree the ground sesame seeds with the miso, sugar, shoyu, mirin, vinegar, garlic and 3/4 cup of water until smooth. The sauce should have the consistency of a salad dressing.
Add more water, if needed. Scrape the sauce into a small bowl and stir in the sesame oil before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The sauce can be refrigerated for up to one week.
*Alternatively, you can use a clean coffee grinder, but be careful not to over-process the seeds or you’ll end up with sesame paste. Stop before the seeds start to release oil or the powder will clump.