This chicken gets its crisp texture from a coating of potato starch. When Harumi Kurihara demonstrated this dish in Tokyo, she worked with skin-on, boneless chicken thighs that still had the leg meat attached. But chicken is not sold that way in the United States, and regular chicken thighs work fine. The presentation isn't quite as attractive because the slices aren't as big, but the chicken still tastes great, especially with the salty, spicy scallion sauce.
- For the chicken and marinade
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup potato starch (may substitute corn starch)
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 quarts sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce
- For the scallion sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil
- 1 cup scallions, white and light-green parts, chopped (from 2 bunches)
- 1 medium dried red chili pepper, seeded and chopped (may substitute 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Prick the chicken skin all over with a fork.
Place the potato starch in a large resealable plastic food storage bag.
Combine the soy sauce, sherry and black pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and marinate for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature. Drain well, then drop each piece into the bag and shake to coat generously with the potato starch; shake off any excess.
Meanwhile, line a large plate with paper towels. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other deep, heavy pot over high heat to 340 degrees. Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken; do not crowd the pieces. Fry for about 13 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Drain well on the paper towels and let cool slightly.
To make the scallion sauce, heat the 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and chili pepper and stir-fry for a few minutes, then add the soy sauce, sherry, rice vinegar and sugar; mix well and turn off the heat.
When ready to serve, soak the lettuce in cold water for a few minutes to make it crisp, then pat dry and arrange on a serving dish. Cut the chicken into finger-size slices and arrange it on top of the lettuce, then pour the warm scallion sauce on top. Serve immediately.
Adapted from "Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking," by Harumi Kurihara (Penguin Group, 2007).
Tested by Joe Yonan and Hal Mehlman.
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