Recipe: Fried Chicken, Asian style
To prepare any of the ethnic variations here, marinade the chicken as directed; coat where applicable; then fry and serve sauce as described.
Burmese Fried Chicken
Chicken: One 3-pound chicken (or 2 to 2½ pounds breasts, legs, wings), chopped into small pieces
Marinade: Rub 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon turmeric into chicken. Pour on 3 to 4 tablespoons fish sauce. Cover, marinate, refrigerated, two to three hours.
Sauce: Place ¼ cup tamarind pulp in a small bowl. Add ½ cup hot water; soak, 10 minutes. Mash the tamarind with a fork to separate seeds and fibers from the pulp. Press the tamarind through the sieve over a bowl, using the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible from the pulp. Pound 2 minced cloves garlic and 3 minced green cayenne chilies into a rough paste with a pinch of salt in a mortar (or process to a coarse paste in a food processor). Stir the paste into the tamarind liquid; add ½ teaspoon each sugar and salt. Best when served freshly made.
Japanese Fried Chicken
Chicken: 10 ounces boneless thighs
Marinade: Mince one 1½-inch piece ginger; mix with 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sake. Marinate chicken in sauce, 30 minutes.
Coating: Dredge chicken pieces in about ½ cup potato starch (katakuriko) or cornstarch.
Sauce: Combine in a small skillet: 1 tablespoon each rice vinegar, soy sauce and finely chopped green onion. Add 1 teaspoon grated ginger, a pinch of sugar and a few drops sesame oil. Heat on medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Serve sauce with lemon wedges on the side. If serving the chicken later at room temperature, make the sauce and then put the cooked chicken pieces in the pan and toss to coat each with the hot sauce. Let chicken and sauce cool completely.
Korean Fried Chicken
Chicken: 2 pounds wings
Marinade: Whisk in a large bowl: 2 tablespoons each fresh lime juice and soy sauce; 1 tablespoon each sugar, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil, gochujang (red pepper paste); 3 finely minced garlic cloves, 1½-inch piece ginger, minced. Add chicken wings, marinate covered for 20 minutes at room temperature.
Coating: Dredge wings in flour; tap off excess.
Sauce: Whisk in a large bowl: 3 tablespoons each gochujang and gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder); 2 tablespoons rice vinegar and honey; 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil. Add crispy cooked wings to bowl with sauce and toss to coat. Pile wings onto a platter; season with salt. (Gochujang is also sold as chili bean paste in Asian markets.)
Malaysian Fried Chicken
Chicken: 1 pound thighs, breasts, drumsticks, chopped into 2 to 2½-inch pieces (leave drumsticks whole)
Marinade: Purée ¼ cup sliced shallots or onions; 1 teaspoon sliced fresh ginger; ¾ to 1 teaspoon sambal oelek and ¼ cup water. Stir into the paste 1 tablespoon ground coriander; 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground fennel seeds and ground mustard; ½ teaspoon each black pepper, turmeric powder, sugar and salt; ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ground paprika. Rub chicken with marinade, refrigerate three to five hours or overnight.
Sauce: Combine 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce; 1 teaspoon soy sauce; ½ teaspoon each, fresh lime juice, ½ teaspoon sugar (or 1 tablespoon honey); ¼ teaspoon sambal oelek and ¼ teaspoon salt. (Sambal oelek is a chili sauce. It is available at Asian markets.)
This recipe, adapted by the Chicago Tribune, was developed by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten for “The Kimchi Chronicles,” a cookbook written by his wife, Marja.