Charles Phan's Hard Water Fried Chicken

From Fried & True: As our nation's most influential Vietnamese chef, Charles Phan surprised the San Francisco food scene when he opened Hard Water, a New Orleans-themed whisky bar, early in 2013. Inspired by a technique from his native country, Phan dry-brines his chicken before air-chilling it, uncovered, for 24 hours before cooking, which contributes to the extra-crispy skin (if you're in a hurry, even 12 hours makes a big difference). Hints of turmeric and coriander assert the provenance of Phan's inspiration, and the irresistible, citrusy-buttery Sriracha accompaniment will become your go-to for everything from sandwiches to crudités.
April 01, 2014


Serves 4

Season the chicken: Season the chicken with the salt and garlic powder and arrange, skin side up, on a baking sheet, leaving space between pieces if possible. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow the chicken to come to room temperature.

Make the sriracha butter: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Place the Sriracha sauce, lime juice, salt and sugar in a blender or food processor. Blend on high for 1 minute, adding the melted butter in a slow stream to create an airy, emulsified sauce. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Dredge the chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cayenne pepper, salt, turmeric and coriander. Fill a 6-quart pot halfway with the oil and heat to 340°F. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, and place it on a clean baking sheet. Set a rack atop a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

Fry the chicken: Working in batches, fry the chicken, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, 12 to 13 minutes. Drain the chicken pieces on the rack; serve hot or at room temperature, drizzled with the Sriracha butter.

Reprinted from Fried & True by Lee Schrager with Adeena Sussman. Copyright © 2014 by Lee Schrager. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, LLC. Photos this page: Evan Sung

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For air-chilling the chicken
  • 1 whole chicken (2 to 3 pounds max), cut into 8 pieces and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
Sriracha Butter
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Sriracha sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2. tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 quarts canola or peanut oil, for frying
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