David Chang is a genius. Anyone who is anyone in the food industry will
vouch for that. Chang not just excels in innovation, but also knows how to
rake in the moolah. His success with the Momofuku brand is a cause for
envy and admiration for many chefpreneurs.
But it’s his innovations that define him. And like most experienced and
successful chefs he is always pushing himself – why else would he have a
food lab, be part owner an kitchen equipment company and grab a bit of the media industry with a quarterly magazine.
His innovations and style of food has been well documented by him and
others who are inspired by him. I’ve tried a few of them as well, my favorite being soy eggs. But that’s not what my most recent kitchen experiment was about. It was fried chicken, Chang has quite a few versions, this one obviously was the simplest to replicate at home.
KFC may be secretive about its batter and spice mix, Chang isn’t. He uses
instant ramen noodles. You can check out the video, the recipe’s also on
It’s a simple enough process and most of the ingredients are easily available at the kirana store below your building, except perhaps instant ramen. Never fear, we have Maggi as a replacement. Mercury or no mercury, MSG or no MSG, it still is the go-to instant noodles for most of us. It’s a no brainer
substitute. More importantly, I think the Maggi’s distinctive flavor profile
will lend something new to this decadent chicken dish.
The process, like I said, is simple – brine, dry, dip, crumb and fry. Off late I have taken to brining most meats and have become a strong proponent of it. The logic as you will find everywhere is that it adds a bit of flavor to the
meat itself and most importantly it doesn’t let the meat dry out during the main cooking process – a big risk when it comes to fried chicken.
For 500 gms of chicken I used 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 sugar dissolved and
brought to a boil in a 750 ml of water. Cool the brine down, dunk the chicken in it. Don’t let it stay in it more than 4-5 hours, you’ll end up with
extremely salty meat (I learnt it the hard way).
In the meanwhile crumble a single pack of Maggi, put in a dry grinder and
pulverise it to a powder. Mix half a packet of the Tastemaker Masala that comes with the noodles into this crumb.
Pour buttermilk in a bowl, I used Amul’s Masti Spiced Butermilk or chaas (if I am going desi with fried chicken might as well go all the way).
Now drain the chicken and dry it thoroughly. Another important step, otherwise you will have oil splattering all over your kitchen and a risk of burning of yourself.
The deep frying factor always had me worried – forget the fact that it’s
unhealthy, but it always seems like such waste of good oil. But with all good
things there are always some flaws. Chang uses one of those professional
kitchen deep fryers. I used a regular non stick pan. Fill the pan 1/4 to 1/2 full and heat it properly. Best way to know is to gently dip a wooden spatula, the oil will bubble around the edges.
While the oil heats, dip the chicken in buttermilk and then into the
pulverized Maggi. Shake of the excess and carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan and keep turning the chicken every 2
minutes. A chicken leg would take at an average 10 minutes to cook through, smaller pieces a little less, use your judgement and experience to gauge this.
When the chicken is done, place the chicken on a cooling rack as opposed to on a tissue paper. The tissue will also absorb the oil but will add
condensation on to the chicken making it soggy. For the final touch sprinkle the remaining packet of Tastemaker on the fried chicken.
This was my very first fried chicken, not to mention an experiment. It came out well. My taste testers aren’t easy to win over, they are opinionated about their likes and dislikes and are choosy eaters – they enjoyed it! This was the piece de resistance of my dinner. Feeling guilty about fried mains, I made
Thai inspired raw mango salad with jaggery, sesame and peanuts dressing
and a Asparagus, Mushroom and Tomato stir fry.
500 gms Chicken
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
750 ml water
1 packet Maggi Masala Noodles
1 glass Amul Masti Spiced Buttermilk
Oil for frying
Serves: 2 people