Duck Fat-Fried Chicken with Spicy Slaw

This recipe kills two birds with one stone
45 Ratings
50% would make again

When chef Takashi Yagihashi came to our Test Kitchen and combined two of my favorite things (fried chicken and duck fat), I thought I was dreaming.

When I tasted a piece of his duck fat fried chicken, it was like nothing I'd ever tried before. Small pieces of chicken are marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic, then dredged in potato starch and fried in golden, glistening duck fat. The result is a flavor-packed, crunchy delight. 

If there's a fried chicken heaven, I think we've found it.

To learn more, read "Duck, Duck Chicken."

Duck Fat-Fried Chicken with Spicy Slaw

Recipe adapted from Slurping Turtle, Takashi Restaurant, Chicago

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time

Cook Time: 20 minutes, plus marinating time

Total Time: 50 minutes, plus marinating time


For the Spicy Napa Cabbage Slaw:

8 leaves Napa Cabbage, stemmed, thinly sliced

1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned

2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal

½ medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons doubanjiang  (hot chile paste)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

½ teaspoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon fish sauce

Salt, to taste

For the Duck Fat-Fried Chicken:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated ginger

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup mirin

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

4 skin-on, bone-in whole chicken legs (legs and thighs attached)

6 cups duck fat

1 cup potato starch

Salt, to taste

2 limes, cut into wedges


1. Make the spicy Napa cabbage slaw: Make an ice bath in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, carrot, scallions and onion and let the vegetables sit in the water until crisp, about 20 minutes. Squeeze the slaw between your hands in batches to remove any excess water. Transfer slaw mixture to a large, dry bowl.

2. Make the duck fat-fried chicken: In a large bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil and a pinch of pepper. Set aside. Using a sharp knife, separate the thighs from the drumsticks between the joint. Cut the thigh in half lengthwise along the bone. Using a clever, chop the piece with the bone in half, resulting in 3 similar-sized pieces. Chop the drumsticks in half. Repeat with the remaining chicken legs. Add the chicken to the marinade; cover and refrigerate for up to two hours.

3. To fry the chicken, heat the duck fat in a medium Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350°. While the duck fat is heating, place the potato starch in a large bowl. Toss the chicken in the potato starch until every piece is evenly coated. Fry the chicken in two batches until crisp and golden brown or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 155°, about 8 to 10 minutes per batch. While the chicken is frying, add the doubanjiang, vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce to the slaw mix. Season with salt; set aside. Once the chicken is cooked through, transfer to a wire rack placed over a paper towel-lined sheet tray. Season the chicken with salt while still hot.

4. To serve, divide the chicken among 4 plates and serve with slaw and lime wedges.

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