I like to eat it with lemon kosho, but feel free to use Frank's Red Hot, Sriracha, or whatever you have if you're making this at home.
Prep time: 72 hours 45 minutes
Total time: 72 hours 45 minutes
for the fried chicken:
2 teaspoons prepared koji (use a koji start such as Cold Mountain brand)
2 cloves garlic
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
1 whole chicken, split in half (spine, ribcage, and thigh bone removed, save the bones and any excess skin and fat to make a fatty stock)
salt, to taste
2 quarts neutral oil
for the lemon kosho:
2 longhorn chilies, or any sweet hot green chili
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 whole preserved lemon
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
for the salted cucumber and daikon salad:
1/4 green daikon
1/2 English cucumber
salt, to taste
for the ginger-scallion chicken jus:
1 quart chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon thinly sliced scallion
1. If preparing your own koji (optional), start 2 weeks in advance. Simply purchase a koji start at an Asian specialty market and follow the instructions on inoculating your mother culture! Very easy and fun. You basically add water and keep in a jar on your countertop with a cheesecloth on it and mix every day till your culture smells like sweet sake and gets a little bit bubbly. It should look like a rice porridge. One container is sufficient to have koji forever. Once you need more, add a couple tablespoons to water and plain cooked rice, and ferment it to keep it going.
2. For the chicken, mince or mortar and pestle the garlic, scallion, and ginger. Fold in your koji. Rub the mixture on the two chicken halves, making sure to get into your thigh meat. Rest skin side up on a rack, and air dry in your refrigerator for 3–5 days. This will age and air-dry your chicken for a super crisp result. The skin should turn a bit translucent, which means the koji is working. After frying, you'll get a golden, crisp skin without using any dredge or batter.
3. In a large pot (I prefer cast-iron), heat the oil to about 360 degrees F. If you don't have a thermometer, dip a chopstick in the hot oil to test. If the bubbles are too fast, your oil is too hot and you risk burning your precious chicken. Fry each half individually to maintain the optimum temperature, about 6 minutes. Remove, season with salt and rest 2–3 minutes on a paper towel-lined plate. Slice the breast and thigh, cut off the drumstick, and split the wing.
4. For the lemon kosho, 1 week in advance, cut your chilies into 1-inch pieces and season heavily with salt. Keep in an airtight container in a dry place at room temperature, and shake once a day. The chili should get soft, turn a darker green, and look like its been boiled. Chili juice should have naturally come out of the chili. You just lacto-fermented something! Make sure there are no signs of mold.
5. If making your own preserved lemons (optional), heavily salt a few lemons, covering them with a weight and more lemon juice. The lemons should be fully immersed in liquid. Refrigerate. After three weeks or a month, the lemons get nice and soft and are ready to use. You can also buy preserved lemons at specialty grocers and even Trader Joe's.
6. Remove seeds and white pith from preserved lemon and place one tablespoon of preserved lemon flesh into a blender with fermented chilies in its liquid. Puree until super smooth. Balance with nice olive oil (I like Sicilian olive oil) and some salt.
7. For the salted cucumber and daikon salad, slice cucumber and daikon in rounds or use a mandolin. Add salt to season and mix. Set aside.
8. For the ginger-scallion chicken jus, if making your own stock (optional), simmer reserved chicken bones and chicken fat for a couple hours to make a fatty stock with mirepoix (carrot, onion, celery). Strain and discard veg and bones, and keep simmering to reduce to your liking. I keep all the chicken fat so it can stick to your rice. Add ginger and scallion to your chicken jus while hot.
9. To serve, rest chicken on a plate over hot jasmine rice. Spoon some ginger-scallion chicken jus over top and garnish with cilantro. Serve with a wedge of lemon, lemon kosho, salted daikon and cucumber.
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