Our Staff Meal – Better than KFC Fried Chicken

Better than KFC - The Chequers Staff Dinner

Chef David loves watching the late night food channel, where they always show how Americans eat lots of deep fried meat on a road trip, how much meat and how much fried food they eat, but as a Chinese person it scares me.

So he gets all the ideas, and wants to cook them for staff, I have to say,  this is a very delicious piece of fried chicken.

And I am not afraid to share the recipe.

Ingredients

Flour mix: plain flour, pepper, salt,

Milk mix: milk, half a lemon juice, white vinegar

Chicken thighs, marinate with thyme, paprika, pepper, salt, garlic

  • bone the chicken thighs, marinate with the seasoning, and let it rest on the side or in the fridge.
  • Pour plain flour in to a mixing bowl or a plate, season with black pepper and salt
  • Pour milk in to another bowl, squeeze juice from half of a lemon and add a couple of teaspoons full of white vinegar in to the milk, and whisk until little bubbles appear on the top to create a frothy texture
  • Make sure your oil in the frier is hot to at least 180 c degrees
  • Take out the chicken pieces start with a dry coating then dip into milk and then in to dry flour mix again, repeat the same with all your chicken pieces, but only do 2 or 3 at a time, this way you keep the flour dry and crispy rather than letting the moist come through the flour.
  • Ready to fry, in to the oil for about 15mins, you should see the skin becoming golden yellow, if not sure, you can always use a skewer to test it, if you can easily go through then it’s ready.

How to make some delicious Chinese Dumplings

Chinese Dumplings - Meat and Veg

For the fillings

Minced meat (pork, beef, chicken) 500g

Kale/Cabbages / celery/ carrots/asparagus & sweetcorn/shitaki mushrooms, Or preserved / pickled veg

Seasoning for mince:

Ground pepper (black or white)

Salt 1 tea spoon

Soy sauce (optional)

Sesame oil or veg oil

Water or stock 150 ml

Grated garlic 1 cloves

Grated ginger 1 teaspoon amount

Sliced Spring onions

Cooking wine 1 table spoon

Dough:

To make about 50 dumplings

All purpose white flour Or strong white flour 500g

Tap water or warm water (40degress) about 400ml

1 Tea spoon of salt

a fork

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Dough for dumpling skins

Step 1: Put flour and salt into a big enough mixing bowl, mix well, slowly pour water in to the flour mix, while the other hand stirs the flour using the fork, don’t add water all at once, as different flour may require different amount of water. When flour mix is like a fluffy cotton softness, start using you hand to knead the dough, until you have a soft smooth dough, it should take about 5 mins. The Chinese say, you can stop when your hand are clear, bowl is clear and the dough is smooth, leave to rest for 30 hour, at least 15mins if you are short of time. The finished dough should look like this.

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Mince and Veg filling

Step 2: While the dough is resting, you can start making the fillings, using your choice of minced meat (for pork and beef, it is recommended to use the ones with 20% fat, as it would give a better texture and flavour), add the seasoning in, again, using a fork, stir the seasoned mince in one direction (very important!!!) until it becomes a paste, when you put your fork in the paste, it stands. Leave it on the side.

Prepare vegetables, you can use any type, as long as you like it. I often use 1 whole cabbage or Chinese leaf for 500g mince. But it’s flexible, you can add more or less.

Chop leaf veg, shred carrots or courgettes, you can add a little salt (not too much, as you have seasoned your meat as well) to get some of the moisture from the vegetables, leave for 15mins, then squeeze out the juice, then add it into your mince. Use fork, spatula or hand (wear gloves if you prefer), until they are evenly mixed together

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Wraping and cooking the dumplings

Back to your dough, separate into 3 portions, take one out, and cover the rest in the bowl, you can either roll 1/3 of the dough into a long snake shape, or use your thumbs to push a whole from the middle of a round dough, the pull it into a doughnut ring. Cut dough into marshmallow size pieces, and dust them with flour, use your palm to press the mini dough into little circle cakes, and ready to goes your rolling pin.

See my video link for pastry skin, and how to wrap dumplings.

The easiest way of cooking is boiling or steaming.

Boil: Prepare a large pot, bring water to boil and add dumplings in, cook until it boils again, add small amount of cold water in the pot wait until boil, repeat once more, your dumplings should be ready in about 10mins.

Important! using a spatula to stir the dumplings during the first boil, especial the after you just put them in, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and break.

Steam:

Whatever steamer you have on med-high heat, put a muslin cloth under, or cut non stick baking paper in to little pieces spread on the tray to prevent sticking, dumplings in, leave some space between each one, as they will become bigger after cooking. Cook for about 12mins.

Tips:

No.1. Prepare dough without too much kneading, if you don’t have strong arms, once you form it into a ball shape, just leave the dough in the bowl and cover with cling film, for about 20 minutes, then hold the dough towards the middle, from the sides for a few times each side, repeat the resting and folding process for 2-3 times, your dough should be ready.

No.2. Adding water or stock into mince meat will improve the softness of the meat after it’s cooked, otherwise, it will be try.

No.3. Vegetarian dumplings are best when steamed, as the filling don’t stick together like meat and fish ones once cooked. Steaming will keep most flavours in and they keep in shape better too.

No.4. If you have a pasta machine at home, you can use it to roll the pastry in to large think sheets, using pastry cutter, cut out the size of a wine bottle bottom circle dumpling skins.

Or just buy frozen ones from Chinese supermarket!

No.5. There is no stress about the seasoning for the mince, if you don’t like some of them, you don’t have to add it, and the amount is all flexible, it can be adjusted to your own liking.

Do feel free to experiment other combinations!