Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pok Pok Lacquered Fried Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches with Crispy Garlic, Homemade Red Rooster Aioli, Sweet + Spicy Pickle Coleslaw, Fresh Cilantro, & Buttered Brioche Buns

Pok Pok Lacquered Fried Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches with Crispy Garlic, Homemade Red Rooster Aioli,
Sweet + Spicy Pickle Coleslaw, Fresh Cilantro, & Buttered Brioche Buns
Sandwiches are like love stories, or I think they are. They're lovey-dovey kind of stuff. Have y'all seen that Zaxby's commercial where she loves one of their zalads salads so much that she married it? It's completely plausible in my book, but if I'm going to marry anything it's either going to be a sandwich or chocolate of some sort. If my Mountain Man were to be a sandwich, I would want him to be a fancy fried chicken sandwich with a yummy coleslaw + toasted bun or a Banh Mi. So, if we're gonna talk marriage, we might as well marry the two together, and that's exactly what I did. Wayyyyyy back in March, I made caramel glazed pork belly banh mi's and my my, they were mighty fine. One of the best things I've concocted between two pieces of bread, so I wanted to use a few elements for my fried chicken version. The homemade red rooster aioli is a must, for anything really. And I knew that I wanted the chicken glazed or drizzled with a sweet + sticky sauce and I eventually decided on adapting this recipe. It worked out perfectly. After you batter & fry the chicken cutlets, you make a caramel with fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, sriracha, etc. And then dunk them into this asian caramel a few times until they are thoroughly coated + extra sticky. Instead of a simple sauce or dip, this gives the chicken a lacquered finish. If you didn't know already, any time food is lacquered, it pretty much means it looks like liquid gold. Brilliant. All that was left was a simple garnish of crispy minced garlic rounds out the flavor and gives it a tad more crunch. Between the buttered brioche bun, spicy aioli, lacquered chicken, and fresh cilantro, these are sure to become a household favorite. 
lacquered + topped with crispy garlic chips
place it on a buttered brioche with a slather of aioli
the sweet + spicy pickle coleslaw is the best part
don't forget a whole lot of fresh cilantro
oh my, you're gonna demolish it
homemade red rooster aioli
The best part? Oh by far, the sweet + spicy pickle coleslaw. This will be a go-to side this summer... and I especially can't wait to adapt it with BBQ inspired flavors for pulled pork sandwiches. All you do is toss a big mess of coleslaw with homemade sriracha-bread n' butter pickles, candied jalapenos, and spicy taco pickles along with some of their pickling liquid, and you've got the best vinaigrette coleslaw you could ever imagine. 
sweet + spicy pickle coleslaw
If you don't have all those pickles around like I do, then you could surely make do with what you have in the pantry... as long as they are asian-inspired & flavored. I let the mixture marinate for an hour or so, that way the flavors could marry together. All that is left is plopping a big scoopful on top of the chicken, and it's done. Or you could be like us and eat half of the coleslaw out of the mixing bowl before the sandwich is even finished. True story. These sandwiches are so damn good... you might just marry them. Just like us!! Enjoy :)

For the Marinated Chicken Cutlets:
4 Thin Chicken Cutlets (pounded out lightly)
1C Hot Water
2 Cloves of Garlic, Roughly Chopped
1C Sugar
½C Fish Sauce + Soy Sauce
Pinch of Cinnamon
¼t Salt
1 Star Anise Pod or Seed

For the Homemade Red Rooster Aioli:
1 Egg Yolk
1t White Vinegar
1 ½t Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
¼t Dijon Mustard & Sugar
1 Garlic Clove, Minced into a Paste (with a little bit of sea salt)
½t Salt
¾C Canola Oil
2T Asian Chili-Garlic Sauce
½t Cayenne
½t Homemade Sriracha Cajun Seasoning 

For the Sweet + Spicy Pickle Coleslaw:
4C Coleslaw Mix or Thinly Sliced Cabbage
2 Jalapenos, Thinly Sliced (optional)
1 Bunch of Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
½C Homemade Sriracha Bread n’ Butter Pickles + ¼C of the Pickling Liquid
1C Homemade “Taco Pickles” + 2T of the Pickling Liquid
½C Homemade Candied Jalapenos + 2T of the Candied Liquid

For the Coleslaw Dressing:
¼C Sriracha Bread n’ Butter Pickling Liquid (reserved from earlier)
2T “Taco Pickles” Pickling Liquid (reserved from earlier)
2T Candied Jalapeno Liquid (reserved from earlier)
1T Sesame Oil
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Crispy Fried Chicken:
2C AP Flour
¼C + 2T Cornstarch
1t Chinese Five Spice Powder
Marinated Chicken Cutlets
½C Panko Breadcrumbs 
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
1C Buttermilk
Peanut Oil, For Frying

To Make the Pok Pok Lacquering Caramel:
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1T Fresh Ginger, Minced
2T Vegetable Oil
¼C Fish Sauce + ¼C Soy Sauce 
¼C Sugar + ¼C Honey
¼C Chili-Garlic Sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
Fried Minced Garlic, For Garnishing

For the Banh Mi Sandwiches:
Buttered Brioche Buns, Warmed
Pok Pok Lacquered-Crispy Fried Chicken Cutlets, Hot
Prepared Red Rooster Aioli
Prepared Sweet + Spicy Pickle Coleslaw
Fresh Cilantro Sprigs

1. For the Marinated Chicken Cutlets: In a small bowl, steep the crushed garlic and salt with the hot water for roughly 5 minutes. After waiting, whisk in the fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar until all of it is completely mixed and the sugar has dissolved. Let this mixture cool completely before marinating the cutlets (I let mine chill in the refrigerator until cold). Once the marinade is cold, place the chicken cutlets into a plastic bag (or large container) and pour the cold marinade over the chicken, tossing to coat completely. Marinate them for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight to enhance the flavor and juiciness (making sure you toss the wings occasionally throughout the process, so that they are evenly covered). Once the wings have marinated for your desired time, remove the chicken from the liquid and completely pat them dry of any excess liquid.
2. For the Red Rooster Aioli: Combine egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, minced garlic, and ½t salt in medium bowl. Whisk until blended and bright yellow, about 30 seconds. Using ¼t measuring spoon and whisking constantly, add ¼C of the oil to yolk mixture, a few drops at a time, about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add remaining ½C canola oil in very slow thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick, about 8-10 minutes (mayonnaise will be lighter in color). Season the mayo with Asian chili-garlic sauce, sugar, cayenne, and Sriracha Cajun seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
3. For the Sweet + Spicy Pickle Coleslaw: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the jalapenos, green onions, Sriracha pickles, taco pickles, candied jalapenos, and the dressing components. Add the coleslaw mixture and season with salt & pepper. Toss to cover and combine, and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. For the Crispy Fried Chicken: Pour about 1 inch of peanut oil into a large heavy skillet and heat to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, panko, five-spice powder, salt, and pepper in a dish. Pour the buttermilk into another dish. Working with 1 marinated chicken cutlet at a time, dredge them into the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, and then dip them into the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drop off. Dredge back into the flour mixture again, shaking one last time. Fry the chicken cutlets until golden brown and crispy, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack and sprinkle with salt. Now, it’s time to make the lacquering caramel.
5. To Make the Pok Pok Lacquering Caramel: In a wok, heat the 2T oil to medium heat and add in the minced garlic, cooking them until golden brown without burning them, about 2-3 minutes (keep a close eye because burnt garlic tastes awful). Remove the fried garlic from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper towel, while you make the caramel. In the oiled wok, bring the pan to medium heat and add in the ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. As the sugar begins to melt, the mixture will start to thicken up into a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes. Once it starts to thicken, whisk in the honey and chili-garlic sauce until smooth and thick (don’t let the sauce unattended because it will burn). Add in the fried cutlets and toss in the sauce until they are coated and sticky.
6. Assembling the Sandwiches: Generously spread the buttered brioche buns with the Homemade Red Rooster Aioli. Layer on the pok pok lacquered-crispy fried chicken cutlets, sweet + spicy pickle coleslaw, and sprigs of fresh cilantro. Top the sandwiches with the top piece of the bun, and enjoy immediately!

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