If you don't already know I'm quite partial to the odd bit of fried chicken. I mean what's not to love. It's low in calories, contains TONS of good fats, carbs - what are those. It's the ultimate feel good about yourself meal!! The last part isn't actually a lie. EVERY time I eat fried chicken I feel hella good. That is until I eat the last bite and realise I'll be taking the stairs everywhere I go instead of the lift/escalator! Ahh, life is for living so why not stretch those pants, enjoy it and wrap your mouth around my latest fried chicken dish - miso fried chicken
Making the BEST (miso) fried chicken
There are 3 schools of thought here.
The classic buttermilk "brine" - I know, I know it ain't actually a brine but work with me here. This is where chicken is placed in buttermilk and left (usually) overnight to soften/moisten up. Buttermilk is slightly acidic so it helps to break down the protein which in turn helps keep the meat moist. Why not dump it in vinegar or lemon juice you say? That's cause the high acidity will almost cook the meat and make it tough as old grandpa's boot!
Secondly we have the classic brine which is to submerge the chicken in a brining solution consisting of water & salt. Sometime sugar and the addition of herbs and lemon too (if you wanna be fancy). Once again this is left over night and it serves the same purpose as the buttermilk brine to help moisten the chicken.
Option #3 - the dry brine. The what? Yep, keep it simple here. Salt and chicken. That's all you need. Oh and a fridge and time but you needed those for the other 2 also. Here you place the chicken on a wire rack, sprinkle generously in salt and pop it in the fridge. This will tenderize it and also add flavour too.
Which one should you use? Good Q and that often depends upon time, fridge space and the next category. Often I classic brine a whole chicken, I'll dry brine chicken pieces for roasting and buttermilk brine for deep frying. All are great ways to tenderize meat and add moisture so it really depends upon personal preference.
Sometimes salt is all you need BUT in my opinion adding some bold spices to the flour or brining solution ain't a bad thing. Things like garlic powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, thyme, oregano are great additions but truthfully you can add what you want. After all you are the one eating it 😉
Panko, Flour or Tempura
That's the big Q isn't it - once again it can be a personal preference but also relate to the finished dish. In this case I was doing an Asian inspired dish so I stuck with panko breadcrumbs. It I was doing classic fried chicken and honey/maple syrup I would use flour or if I was doing smaller pieces like chicken tenders I may use a tempura batter.
Panko offer a distinctively crunchy texture and also feel a little healthier than a batter. They are lighter than your average breadcrumb and therefore absorb less of the oil, Typically you crumb things that you are going to bake in the oven but panko is best for frying. For example I would use homemade breadcrumbs for a nice kiev in the oven but not in the deep fryer
Flour - the classic southern way. Soak the chicken in buttermilk and dredge it in seasoned flour. Often you see it double or even triple dredged. This is to get a good even coating so that when you fry it you won't lose any and you have plenty of those delicious little nooks and crannies for some honey to get lost in
Tempura - often used when frying fish, onion rings or the likes. It's a light airy batter made from flour, eggs, baking powder & iced cold water or nowadays if your super hipster some weirdly named beer that costs 2 hours worth of work to pay for! One trick with classic tempura batter is you don't want to overmix it. Those little lumps we think shouldn't be there have a home in tempura batter. Overmixing it means the gluten starts to have a party and you are left with a heavier stodgier batter.
Oil & Temperature
Simple and straight to the point here. Oil needs to be about 180c or 350f for the perfect chicken. Any lower and you won't crisp up the batter/crumbs properly. Any higher and the outside will burn before the inside is cooked. That is unless you are frying the world's thinnest piece of chicken! I like to use a neutral vegetable oil usually but I have fried using olive oil at just a slightly lower temp and had great success. The key is to make sure the oil temperature is consistent. That's why you see/hear of them using cast iron down south. The other alternative is a dutch oven. These babies keep their temps well, have high sides to stop some of the splatters. Recycle the oil when possible. Let it cool, strain through a fine sieve and re-use the oil the next time you plan on making miso fried chicken.
What do you serve with fried chicken? This one is personal and truthfully you can serve anything you want. Often you see it drizzled in honey, coated in gravy, some sort of "fancy" mayo (kinda like my miso fried chicken mayo). Below are some sauces that I have used and others have suggested to use so try whatever excites you
Blend Smoked Honey - a honey here in Australia that has a wicked spice to it and a delicious smokiness. Defo a "fancy" honey to use!
Maple Syrup - classsic combo. A pile of waffles, couple pieces of fried chicken and some Canadian nectar.
Sriracha Aioli - this too offers a great kick and works better in sandwich form over the drizzled honey drumstick.
Boom Sauce by Lisa Menichello Huff of 'Snappy Gourmet'
Homemade Buffalo Sauce by Melanie Mendelson of 'Melanie Cooks'
Sweet Chili Sauce by Alexandra Cook of 'Its Not Complicated'
Naturally Sweetened Peach BBQ Sauce by Donna Mansour of 'Whole Food Bellies'
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!
- 2-4 chicken thighs
- 1 tin coconut milk
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 100 g panko breadcrumbs
- 2 brioche buns
- pickled sushi ginger
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp white miso
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 200 ml olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
Char Siu Sauce
- 2 tbsp hoisin
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1/2 tsp 5 spice
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp kecap manis
- Mix the coconut milk, garlic & thyme together and marinate the chicken for 1hr or overnight if organised
- Put panko on a plate/bowl and then place the chicken over and cover in breadcrumbs, set aside and repeat.
- Fry chicken in heavy duty pan @ 170c for 8 - 10 mins until golden and crispy
- Place all ingredients (exept oil) in a small food processor, blitz to bring it all together. Slowly add the olive oil and continue to blend. Store in fridge
Char Siu Sauce
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to bring together. Store in fridge
- Toast the burger bun and place a little aioli on both the buns, top with lettuce and place chicken thigh on top. Add sushi ginger, drizzle with char siu sauce and place top bun on. If using 2 thighs per burger (defo recommend) then add char siu sauce in between thighs
- chef knives
- chopping board
- small food processor
- mixing bowl
- ziplock bag
- heavy based frying pan
- don't crowd the frying pan. It may seem great to put all the chicken in at once but this will lower the temperature and leave you with soggy chicken
- miso mayo & char siu sauce will keep in the fridge for 3 - 5 days in the fridge