Michael Solomonov has consumed more fried chicken and doughnuts in the past few months than most of us eat in a lifetime. The reason: research for his new doughnut-and-fried-chicken shop, Federal Donuts, in Philadelphia. One of his creations, chile-garlic fried chicken, is brined overnight and fried twice before being doused in chile-garlic sauce. The initial fry gently cooks the chicken, while the second higher-temperature fry creates a light, crackly crust. If you're up for it, serve the bird alongside your favorite doughnut. In Solomonov's words: "Nothing goes better with fried chicken than doughnuts."
Chile-Garlic Fried Chicken
Recipe adapted from Michael Solomonov, Federal Donuts, Philadelphia, PA
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 20 minutes, plus overnight refrigeration
1 whole chicken (about 3½ to 4 pounds), cut into 8 bone-in pieces (two thighs, two drumsticks, each breast cut in half lengthwise)
2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
Vegetable oil for frying
½ cup cornstarch
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup water
¼ cup garlic-chile sauce, such as Huey Fong Chili Garlic Sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¾ cup kecap manis
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1. The night before cooking the chicken, liberally season the pieces with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover loosely with parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.
2. In a large saucepot, add enough vegetable oil to reach 5 inches up the side of the pan. Place over high heat and heat the oil to 300°.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon kosher salt; whisk in the water to make a thin batter. Dip the chicken pieces in the batter and place in the oil. Fry for 10 minutes, then remove the chicken to a drain rack. Increase the oil temperature to 350° and fry the chicken pieces for an additional 5 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Drain well.
4. Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic-chile sauce, soy sauce, kecap manis and apple cider vinegar.
5. Coat the chicken liberally in the sauce and serve immediately.