Hard water’s fried chicken recipe

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As one of our nation’s most influential Vietnamese chefs, Charles Phan surprised the San Francisco food scene when in 2013 he opened Hard Water, a New Orleans–themed whisky bar, where he serves this incredible fried chicken. Inspired by a technique from his native country, Phan dry-brines his chicken before air-chilling it, uncovered, for 24 hours, 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 Sriracha butter will become your go- to condiment.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


For Air-Chilling the Chicken
  • 1 whole chicken (3 pounds maximum), cut into 8 pieces and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
For the Sriracha Butter
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Sriracha sauce
  • 1 lime Juice (about 2½ tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
For the Dredge
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 quarts canola or peanut oil, for frying
How to Make It
    Season the Chicken
  1. 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.
  2. Make the Sriracha Butter
  3. 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 refrigerated for up to 1 month.
  4. Dredge the Chicken
  5. 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.
  6. Fry the Chicken
  7. Working in batches, fry the chicken, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain the chicken pieces on the rack; serve hot or at room temperature, drizzled with the Sriracha butter.

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