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Paper-Wrapped Crispy Salt and Pepper Chicken

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 8 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 8 hr
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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6 skinless chicken thighs, each piece chopped in half across the bone

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 heaping tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more for seasoning

3 cloves garlic, smashed

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 to 3 heaping tablespoons cornstarch, for dusting

1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying

1 heaping tablespoon ground black pepper

4 to 6 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

Mixed Salad, for serving, recipe follows

Mixed Salad:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 head butter or red leaf lettuce, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and shredded

1 medium Fresno chile, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 scallion, green parts only, finely chopped


Special equipment:
newspaper and parchment paper, cut into 8 to 10-inch squares
  1. Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl. Cover the chicken with the light soy sauce, Chinese five-spice powder, salt and garlic, and stir to coat. Toss the chicken with the toasted sesame oil. Let marinate for as much time as you have; for best results, leave the chicken in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. When ready to fry, toss the chicken pieces in the cornstarch.
  3. Heat a large wok or pan over high heat and add the vegetable oil. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the chicken and fry lightly until the thighs are golden brown on all sides and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels and season them with salt, pepper and cilantro as they come out of the oil.
  4. Wrap each piece of newspaper and parchment into a cone shape and secure with a piece of tape. Fill each cone with several pieces of chicken and garnish with more chopped cilantro. Serve alongside a platter of Mixed Salad if desired.

Mixed Salad:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, light soy sauce, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil; set aside. Toss the lettuce, carrots, chiles and scallions with the dressing when ready to serve.

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