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2 1/2-3 pounds of bone-in chicken (I like a mix of whole wings and thighs)
2 Tbsp shio koji
2 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp shoyu
-or- 2 tsp each grated fresh ginger and finely chopped fresh lemongrass
1 Tbsp toum
-or- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced, plus 1 Tbsp neutral oil
1 bottle barbecue sauce of your choice
3 Tbsp tonkatsu sauce
1-2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2-3 tsp garlic hot sauce (sriracha or something similar), or any hot sauce plus some toum
3-4 ears of cooked corn, kernels removed
1 Japanese or two Persian cucumbers, scrubbed and cut into corn kernel sized pieces
1 small sweet onion, cut into corn kernel sized pieces
Rice wine vinegar
Check the chicken for any stray bits of bone or excess fat/skin and remove. Mix the chicken thoroughly with the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock and place in the refrigerator for a couple hours, or overnight.
In a sauce pot combine all the sauce ingredients and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium high heat. Allow to cool until it's not hot to the touch, then transfer to a container (I usually re-use the barbecue sauce bottle).
Combine the vegetables and add mayonnaise, vinegar, and Aleppo to taste, mix well. I usually start with 2 tablespoons of mayo and a 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar, along with a couple big pinches of aleppo. The salad should be mildly tart and lightly sweet. Can be served at room temperature or chilled, and will keep for at least 5 days in the fridge. Save the cobs and onion ends if you want to make stock later using the chicken bones.
You can either use rice cooker for Japanese rice or make it on the stove top. The important things to remember: First wash the rice until the water runs clear. Strain to remove excess water/starch, then add fresh water (the proper ratio of rice to water is 1:1.2 for stovetop and 1:1.1 for rice cookers), and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
Cook, covered, in a heavy pot with a lid. First allow the water to boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes (this will vary a bit depending on how fresh the rice is and how stable your heat source is, you'll find the perfect time after a few tries). Allow to stand off the heat for 10 minutes, then fluff with a rice paddle. Any excess rice can be frozen, tightly packed in individual portions, and easily reheated in the microwave.
You can also buy rice which does not need to be rinsed. Kinmemai is a great one and retains more of the nutritious germ through a specialized milling process.
Build a charcoal fire on one side of your grill, or turn on your burners on one side.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook, skin-side down, over the hot side of the grill with the cover closed, for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to the cool side of the grill, skin-side up, and cook, with the cover closed, until cooked through, about 20 minutes for wings and 30 minutes for thighs.
Sauce the chicken and return to the hot side of the grill, flipping regularly until you form a sticky coating on the chicken. The shio koji will cause a lot of browning and the chicken will appear very dark, this is ok. I also like a bit of char with these flavors (often considered a flaw I know); cook them to your tastes.
Remove to a platter and serve with the rice and the corn salad, plus extra sauce.
• The marinade and sauce also works great with pork ribs. You can either smoke them slowly or braise and then grill.
• The simple marinade is a great jumping off point for exploring other flavors:
• When you are done eating the chicken you can make a nice stock using the bones, the corn cobs, and the onion ends/skin. Simmer in a pot for a few hours, or pressure cook for 30 minutes, then strain and adjust seasoning to your tastes.
Recipe and photo © Christian Leue
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