When Irene Bean (little sis) and I (big sis) are in the same place, certain things are bound to happen. Things like:
1. Obsessive playing of video games (this year it’s Dr. Mario).
2. Multiple rounds of board games (Settlers of Catan, Bananagrams, what have you).
3. Repeated watching of cute things involving babies on the Interwebs (seriously, go watch this).
4. A sick amount of cooking. And not just regular cooking. Wake-up-at-7am-and-start-baking-style of cooking. Make-a-new-kind-of-cake-every-day-style of cooking. Take-24-hours-to-make-fried-chicken-style of cooking. In short, Family Styles cooking.
Hey, it’s the holidays. What else do we have to do?
So here’s what we did. Let’s start off with the chicken. Biggest props go to the Bean for the most laborious, complicated preparation of Brined-Steamed-Dessicated-and-Deep-Fried-then-Rolled In Special Sauce Chicken from the Momofuku cookbook. Talk about an insanely delicious masterpiece of crispiness. She found the recipe online and spent the first day brining several chickens in multiple plastic bags in the fridge and then steaming them in multiple batches.
Yeah, I know it looks kinda gross, but just wait till it gets deep fried. She then cooled them overnight to dessicate the skin so when the chicken hits the oil, it doesn’t take as long to crisp up the dried skin. Once deep frying time came around (always an eventful moment in our kitchen), the Bean rigged a Macgyver-style candy thermometer setup using a bobby pin to monitor the boiling oil. I kid you not. It is not pictured though. Sorry.
Then it’s time for a quick dip in the boiling oil. The genius of this extremely labor-intensive process is that the pre-cooked chicken and carefully dessicated skin makes for super short frying time and no danger of overcooking the outside in order to make sure you don’t get raw chicken on the inside. Plus the skin is thin and incredibly crispy without a thick layer of gross breading and flabby skin. Amazing.
Yup. Tasty time. The chicken by itself was already an amazing bite of oily, crunchy, golden perfection. But to keep things exciting (and add another level of complication to the whole business), Irene meticulously sliced and diced up an Asian vinaigrette with about a dozen ingredients. Jalapeno, garlic, ginger, hot sauce, soy sauce, corn oil, sesame oil, black vinegar, rice vinegar, etc etc = OH HOLLER YOU ARE A WALLOP OF SPICY TANGY NUTTY SALTY YUM.
Stop, drop, and roll. Then fall to your feet in appreciation. This fried chicken is that good, people. Thank you to the inspired brilliance of David Chang and the culinary dedication of my sister. I love you both.
P.P.S. I am still accepting Christmas presents.