Honestly, the batter for this fried chicken recipe is the crispiest I have tried. It’s more similar to a tempura batter being all too puffed up, light, and crumbly.
It ain’t only all about the special breading either. This recipe packs very pronounced Chinese flavors as well. It all starts with this marinade; chicken powder intensifies that umami flavor; garlic powder gives some neutral pungency; five-spice gives the chicken that mouth-watering aroma; and soy sauce lends off some sweetness and briny flavor to tie it up altogether.
Leave the chicken to marinate in this mix for about four hours. That would be for smaller cuts like the thighs, wings, or the drumsticks I’ve used, and of course longer if working on quarters.
I would suggest to keep your chicken pieces with the marinade in a resealable plastic bag that would double-serve as your sous vide cooking bag for later.
Here’s the secret to that perfectly juicy inside – precise cooking temperature. Preheat your water bath to 165F. You can see in the photo I’m using a Gourmia Sou Vide Pod. There are several models, in a variety of colors, but I like the plain black ones.
Here’s another great looking brand with a cool design and an even cooler (cheap!) price tag.
Because I’ve packed my chicken in this bag earlier, it’s just as simple as pulling them out of the fridge for cooking.
An hour would be enough to get these chicken drumsticks barely well-done. They’ll still be a bit bloody by the end of this sous vide phase, and we want it exactly that way so they finish off perfectly in the fryer.
As soon as the timer goes off, take the chicken out of the bag and set it on a colander to drain. We don’t want them too moist or they won’t get properly coated in the batter.
Meanwhile, whisk together rice flour, cornstach, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda and cold water in a bowl. That mix of different starches keeps this batter really light and airy, turning out crispier compared to using all-purpose flour alone.
To keep the batter really cold, I swap some of the water needed for some ice cubes and let those melt in the bowl. Keeping the batter cold will ensure that it puffs up really crisp as it hits the very hot oil.
Keep the consistency of your batter much like to a light waffle batter. Too thin and it won’t coat adequately, too thick and it’ll finish off too dense and heavy.
Dredge the chicken pieces lightly with all-purpose flour, shaking off any excess. This dry coating will provide a layer for the wet batter to cling on to.
Pre-heat a good amount of vegetable oil in a pot. You may use an oil thermometer to be more accurate. We’re looking for an oil temperature of 365F.
It would take around 2-3 minutes to get the batter beautifully golden. By then, the chicken should be cooked all the way through also.
Notice how these have come to a perfect color? The oyster sauce in the marinade would’ve caused our chicken to brown excessively had we not pre-cooked them and shortened their exposure to this high frying temperature.
Extremely crispy on the outside, and look how moist that meat is kept inside.