We love fried chicken. This is our version of what we consider to be the perfect food — with an Asian twist. This recipe, which comes from our book, The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat, uses boneless skinless chicken thighs, which are so flavorful. It also calls for lard. If you haven’t fried chicken in lard before, it gives the chicken a crispy, crunchy crust without burning.
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 2 teaspoons peeled minced fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sansho pepper (optional)
- 1/2 pound block lard, for deep-frying
- 1/8 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (optional)
- lemon wedges
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and garlic. Add the chicken thighs, toss well, and marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and black and white sansho peppers if using. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, remove the chicken from the marinade and drop it into the seasoned flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and place the chicken on a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs. Let the chicken sit until the coating is absorbed and the color changes from white to light brown, about 5 minutes.
In a deep skillet or wok, heat enough lard so that the chicken pieces will be completely submerged to 330 degrees F. Test the temperature of the lard by dropping a pinch of dredging mixture into the oil. If it sizzles immediately on the surface without burning, it’s ready. Fry 5 or 6 pieces at a time, cooking until the crust is lightly colored, about 1 minute. Transfer the chicken to paper towels or a metal rack and let drain.
Lower the temperature of the cooking oil to 310 degrees F; it’s ready when a pinch of dredging mixture sinks slightly when dropped in the oil before sizzling. Fry the chicken a second time in batches for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. Do not let it get too dark. Transfer the chicken to paper towels or a metal rack and let drain. Sprinkle the pieces with salt and shichimi togarashi, and squeeze some lemon juice over the top. Serve immediately or at room temperature.