Earlier in April, Mario was over at mine for his Man in the Kitchen session, and we were eating his spaghetti al ragu di salsiccia, when he very casually mentioned that he makes the world’s best fried chicken. WTF, Mario? Can’t say that and NOT cook us the world’s best fried chicken.
So Mario returned to Berlin exactly 3 weeks later and we had a fried chicken party!
What you need
1 litre soy sauce (we used Kikkoman). 32 pieces chicken, with skin on (we used drumsticks and wings). 1 fresh ginger root (we used a 4-inch piece). 2 garlic cloves. ½ cup of white wine or vodka (we used Grey Goose Vodka). 1 tablespoon of sugar. 500g of potato flour or corn starch. 4-5 litres of sunflower oil.
1 Ziploc bag. A cooking thermometer. A Dutch oven or deep-fryer. Splatter guard, if you’re not using a deep-fryer. Stainless steel or wooden tongs. Wire rack and oven pan.
I use a wire rack placed on top an oven pan, to hold the marinated-and-coated uncooked chicken pieces (see photo above). It’s big enough that I use one end for draining the oil off the fried chicken pieces. If you have a small wire-rack set up, then just rinse while the chicken is frying so that it’s ready to use for draining the fried chicken.
Marinate the chicken
We used a 5-litre bowl to marinate the chicken in. Place the 1 litre of Kikkoman in the bowl. Peel and grate the ginger and garlic into the Kikkoman. Add the vodka and the sugar. Stir to mix and then place as much of the chicken as you can into the Kikkoman marinade. I do them in batches, and 1 litre is usually enough to submerge about 12 pieces of chicken.
Recommended marinating time is 90-120 minutes, so around an hour and a half to two hours.
Place the potato flour or corn starch in the Ziploc bag. Place a well-marinated piece of chicken into the flour/starch mix. Then roll the bag to create a seal, and shake well to cover the chicken piece in the coating. Place onto the wire rack set up, see above photo.
Repeat with the first batch of chicken, up to 12 pieces per frying session.
In a Dutch oven, heat 3 litres of oil and keep the others for the oil change. Over medium-high fire, bring up the oil to 220C. Test the heat using a piece of leftover ginger: if the oil bubbles and fizzes and the ginger stays afloat, then the oil is hot enough for frying.
Gently place your chicken pieces into the hot oil. My 32cm Le Creuset fits about 5 chicken drumsticks at a time. Deep fry for about 10 minutes, until the coating turns golden brown. You’ll want to use a splatter guard while frying if you don’t have a deep-fryer with a lid.
With the tongs, remove the chicken from oil and drain on the wire rack. The chicken will be very hot and will continue cooking inside. The coating should be golden and crisp.
The oil change and disposal
The oil change happens when there’s enough coating debris in the oil that the oil is a darker brown colour. When the oil browns, this will brown the chicken much faster and it’s harder to judge whether the chicken is done or still undercooked.
Let the oil cool a bit; I speed up the process by removing it from the stovetop and leaving it uncovered for about 30-40 minutes. Then I pour the cooled oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a large container to let it cool further.
Clean the fryer, removing all the coating debris, and refill with the new oil. Sometimes the old oil is still OK to re-use; if the colour is still closer to yellow rather than brown, then re-use.
Eating the chicken
Serve with Jasmine/Basmati rice and slices of cucumber and tomatoes on the side. I recommend using my cousin’s sambal bawang to kick things up a notch.
Invite friends over. Pop open some prosecco, because it’s always five o’clock somewhere. And of course we eat fried chicken with our hands! Mario’s fried chicken was so so tasty, I think I have to start a series of cook-off between all my friends who make amazing fried chicken!