Momofuku fried chicken is chef David Chang’s approach in which you steam chicken before frying it and then you douse it in a Korean-inspired vinaigrette. It’s unfailingly crisp-skinned on the outside and tender within. Genius as well as gluten-free.
Chef David Chang of Momofuku fame came up with this approach to fried chicken at his Momofuku Noodle Bar in Manhattan. He steams the chicken first, just until it’s cooked, then uses the fryer to simply crisp and brown the outside. Because of the sugar in the brine, the chicken browns deeply. And quickly, so be at the ready with a brown paper bag on which you can drop the chicken when it comes out of the hot oil. Frying the chicken this way means the bird spends less time in the oil, which makes it easier on you, the home cook, to cook a batch on a random weeknight. And the other ingredients are few and gluten-free, which means you get a fried chicken unfettered with excess but that excels in terms of simple, pure taste. The Korean-inspired vinaigrette in which you douse the chicken is truly exemplary—and will have everyone asking, wanting, begging for more. Originally published June 26, 2011.–David Chang and Peter Meehan
Special Equipment: Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer
Momofuku's Fried Chicken
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H, 35 M
- Serves 2 to 4
- 4 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- One (3- to -3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 4 or 8 pieces
- 4 cups grapeseed or other natural cooking oil
- Octo Vinaigrette
- 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. Pat the chicken dry. Add the chicken pieces to the brine, cover or seal, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and no more than 6 hours.
- 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 place it on a cooling rack to cool. Then put the chicken in the refrigerator, uncovered and preferably still on the cooling rack, for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- 3. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you fry it.
- 4. Pour enough oil for the chicken to be submerged into a deep skillet. Heat it to 350°F (175°C). Fry the chicken in batches, turning once, until the skin is deep brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel–lined plate or a cut up brown paper bag to drain.
- 5. If you haven’t already, cut the wing from the breast, cut the breast in half, and cut through the “knee” to separate the thigh from the drumstick. Place the chicken in a large bowl, toss with the vinaigrette, and serve hot.