Friday, May 29, 2015

Crispy Fried Chicken Wings

I like my fried chicken to have a crispy exterior, but I don't like it covered with a thick batter.  I used to simply drench the chicken in flour, but after tasting my friend Aiai's chicken, I realized my version was inferior.  I asked her how she made it and she said she marinated the chicken in soysauce and then used rice flour to coat the pieces.  Rice flour is not something I generally have at home, and I couldn't imagine how it could really make that much difference. So, like an idiot, I ignored this tip for years, until I bought a bag of rice flour for a cookie recipe.  This week, when I made fried chicken, I used the rice flour.  It really made a difference:  the exterior was beautifully crispy.  So rice flour.  Just buy it.

While it sounds very fiddly to deep fry at home, I have found that it is really quite easy and the clean up is not as horrible as I imagined. I keep a big bottle of oil for frying.  After each frying session, I let the oil cool in the pot.  Then I take seive and pour the oil into a large measuring cup, seiving out all the particles.  I pour the oil back into the bottle and put it away, ready to use for the next time I crave fried chicken.

You do not need any special equipment for deep frying except a thermometer.  It is impossible to keep the temperature steady on the stove top if you don't know what the temperature of the oil is.  Yes, you can do it without a thermometer, but you will get very uneven results because the oil temperature fluctuates very quickly.

Otherwise, this is not so much a recipe as a method.  If I am frying drumsticks for dinner, then I allow about 3 drumsticks per person. Chicken wings have much less meat on them, so I allow about 6 per person for a main course, although I more often serve them as a starter or snack.

I generally serve my fried chicken plain, with no sauce. I don't think it needs a sauce since the chicken is so flavorful after having been marinated in soysauce.

Chicken wings or drumsticks
whole garlic cloves, optional
rice flour
salt and pepper
oil for frying

Take your chicken wings or drumsticks and put into a bowl or dish and sprinkle liberally with soysauce.  If you like garlic, then crush a few cloves with a garlic press and rub it into the chicken.  Leave the chicken to marinade for at least an hour, but ideally overnight in the refrigerator.  If you can remember to toss the chicken around every now and then, that is even better.

When you are ready to fry the chicken, take a large pot and fill with a neutral frying oil at least one inch deep, but preferably closer to two inches.  Put in a thermometer and heat until 350 degrees F (about 180C).

On a large plate, pour a bunch of rice flour.  Mix in a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Take each wing or drumstick, shake off any liquid, and drench in the seasoned rice flour, so that all the surface area is covered in a thin layer of flour.

When the oil is heated, put in 6 to 7 wings (or about 5 drumsticks), depending on the size of your pot.  You don't want to crowd the meat.  Fry until it is golden brown, turning occasionally if the oil does not quite cover the meat. Remember to keep your eye on the thermometer and adjust the heat to maintain an even tempeature. 

It will take about 6 minutes to fry wings and about 10 minutes to fry drumsticks.  The exact amount of time will depend on the actual heat and size of the wings or drumsticks.  To test if they are ready, put the tip of the knife into the meatiest part of a wing or drumstick and if clear juices run out, the chicken is done. Remove the chicken and lay on a plate covered with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

These are best served hot, but are also delicious at room temperature.

No comments: