Cookbook:Crispy Fried Chicken
Crispy Fried Chicken is a Hong Kong/Cantonese specialty. According to the English Wikipedia, it is often served at weddings.
- 1 whole chicken (small).
- 2 Tbsp Chinese 5 spice powder(五香粉)
- 3 slices of ginger, crushed
- 2 scallions
- Water to poach chicken in, about 2 quarts. It should be enough to cover the chicken.
- Prawn Crackers/Shrimp Chips to fry (not the ready made ones)
- 3 Tbsp vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 C oil (or enough for deep fryer)
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 3 Tbsp Sichuan Peppercorns (花椒)
- 1 Tbsp Ajinomoto (味の素)
This recipe is in three steps. First poaching the chicken, second drying the chicken, then third frying the chicken.
Poaching the Chicken
- Put water on to boil.
- Clean and rinse off chicken, throw out giblets.
- Put spices in a cloth and tie it, and simmer in the water for 15 minutes
- Put chicken in spiced water and poach for 20 minutes.
- When chicken is done, pat dry with paper towels, and air dry for a little bit.
- Put vinegar and sugar in sauce pan, and heat to dissolve to make a syrup.
- Coat chicken, the skin outside, and the inside, with syrup.
- Let chicken dry in a fan breeze until very dry.
The above steps can be done in advance, and the chicken can be kept in the refrigerator.
Frying the Chicken
- Fill deep fryer with oil, and heat oil to 350 F or 175 C.
- Deep fry about 10 minutes a side, until brown and done.
- Remove from oil, and chop with a meat cleaver into 1 x 2 inch pieces.
- When chicken is done, fry the shrimp chips in deep fryer.
- Sprinkle shrimp chips with a little salt.
To make Pepper Salt
- To make pepper salt, put salt and peppercorns in a small pan. Heat on medium to low heat until it barely smokes.
- Remove from heat
- Grind well in mortar and pestle, or with a rolling pin
- Add Ajinomoto and mix well.
- Serve chicken, adorned with shrimp chips, and pepper salt in a small dish on the side.
- Poaching is not the same as boiling, since the temperature is lower, about 160–180 °F (71–82 °C) instead of at 212 °F (100 °C), and is even lower than simmering. If boiled, the meat will come out tough and dry. Also the lower the poaching temperature, the longer it will take to poach.
- Drying the skin is important, since it helps the syrup to stick.
- The second drying also is important, since that is what helps to make skin crispy. It can be done the day before, and the chicken kept in the fridge.
- The caramelized sugar gives the nice brown color. Vinegar lowers the pH, and helps the caramelization.
- Oil temperature is important, since it imparts the brown color to the skin. If the oil temperature is too low, the sugar will not caramelize, and the chicken will not be brown. If it is too high, the sugar will burn. If you don't have a temperature controlled fryer, use a frying (or candy) thermometer.
- A deep fryer can use 2 or 3 liters of oil. Use as much as your deep fryer manual dictates.
- If you don't have a deep fryer, it can be fried on the stove in a pot or wok with a fry thermometer, but be very careful.WARNING: A wok can easily tip, spilling oil and giving severe burns. If the oil overflows, one can easily have a very dangerous oil fire. Please read warnings in the article on Cookbook:Deep Fat Frying