Monday, August 3, 2009

Fried Chicken Two Ways for Hughes & Ringwald

For the third year in a row we attended Film Night in the Park in Dolores Park with John Hughes films. This year's offering was "Pretty in Pink." Fried chicken seems like good picnic food to me so I made my tradition Southern-style buttermilk fried chicken. I got a whole fryer chicken and cut into pieces. The chicken pieces went into a bath of buttermilk seasoned with Lawry's overnight. The chicken was then battered twice with flour (double dipped) by dunking the chicken back in the buttermilk mixture in between coats of flour. I fried the pieces on medium heat in a skillet for 16 minutes turning the pieces once. Shaking and cooling on drying racks helps to crisp and remove excess oil better than on paper towels. Beautiful juicy and crispy fried chicken!
This year I also wanted to challenge myself a bit a try making Korean Fried Chicken. I marinated chicken wing pieces in a mixture of low fat milk, soy sauce, salt, gochujang, chilies, and lots of minced garlic overnight . This is what the chicken looked like after I took them out of the marinade.
In a plastic bag, I added two heaping tablespoons of regular flour, one heaping tablespoon of cornstarch, and one heaping tablespoon of yam starch. I made sure the flour coating was very thin and shook of excess.
The chicken were then deep fried on medium for 10 minutes. They came out lightly golden.
Some places that serve Korean Fried Chicken serve it with a sauce on top. But I felt it to be slightly messy for picnicking. So I decided to try frying the sauce in. I made a sauce of soy sauce, garlic powder, gochujang, and water and coated the pieces of chicken with it after the first frying.
The sauce coated pieces then went back into the deep fryer on high heat for another 10 minutes. The first frying is to cook the meat. The second frying is meant crisp the outside and force any oil left in the top layer out. The results were Korean Fried Chicken that had sauce fried in!

Mad for Mee Sua

To say that I've been a little obsessed with mee sua the last two months is an understatement. Mee sua is Taiwanese for noodle thread (translated literally). The pinyin for it is mian xian (麵線). It is a flour based noodle and dried with salt as preservative. It can be either red (kinda burnt sienna-ish) or white. Many of the Asian markets in SF and Ranch 99 in Daly City do not carry this noodle. I found some at Pacific Super in Daly City and Marina Foods in Foster City.
I bought few kinds of the white kind and found the following brand to have the right bite and consistency for making Taiwanese style mee sua. The main thrust of my mee sua making has been for sesame oil chicken mee sua. One may think that having this in the middle of summer is too hot. But I live in SF and the cold, foggy nights are perfect for this dish.
The instructions for making this dish I found on a Youtube clip of Chef A-chi. You take some chicken thigh meat and cut into bite size pieces. Peel and julienne up a ginger root. The rest couldn't be simpler yet Chef A-chi's tips really make a difference. First you take some normal cooking oil (not sesame), I used canola, and saute the ginger pieces until fragrant and slightly burnt as the edges. In the meantime, add the mee sua to boiling water. When the noodles are cooked (after about 2 min), remove the noodles in to a separate bowl (don't get rid of the pasta water). Drain the canola oil into the bowl with noodles. Add 1/2 cup of rice wine and stir up the noodles.
Add a cup of sesame oil and heat with the ginger on medium (don't do high heat as the sesame oil will turn bitter). Add the chicken pieces in and saute until slightly browned. Then add a cup of rice wine and a cup of the pasta water. Bring to boil and let simmer for 15 minutes so all the flavours meld.
Add the soup mixture to the noodles and... Viola! Delicious sesame chicken mee sua. As a side note... do not ever add salt to this dish. The residual salt from the pasta water is enough.
I also tried the red mee sua noodles to make oyster mee sua.
The results were just okay. One problem is that our oysters in SF are too big. Also, I don't have broth quite right. I need Chef A-Chi to make a video for this dish...

Reward for Patio Work

I realized that I haven't posted in two months. I guess I've been busy. So the next few posts will be catch-ups. One of the things I've been working on is my patio. Yes, Patio 4.0 has been launched with help from David. So as thanks for his labour, I made this meal of porkchop with a caramelized balsamic reduction. I plated the protein over argula and a polenta mash (made by softening polenta with cream and butter). The plating is inspired by gardening and is to me a bit of wild English garden-like.