This #RFC, which Chang improvised in a video for our People Cooking Things series, took everybody by surprise when it came out of the fryer. Why? Because ramen seasoning sprinkled on crisply fried chicken is so impossibly good—such an uppercut of everything you want out of a fried chicken experience, plus a kick of spice and zap of MSG—that it seems preposterous this isn’t a regularly practiced and state-sanctioned way of seasoning fried animals. The proof is in the sprinkling: try it the next time you fry a bird, or give this super ramenized recipe a shot. Even without the pulverized noodles as a breading, it’s a fine chicken dinner to put on the table. —Peter Meehan
- 2 C water
- 3/4 C (158 g) salt
- 3/4 C (185 g) sugar
- 1 3-4 lb chicken
- 1 C buttermilk
- 2 4.2 oz. packages Shin ramen noodles, seasoning packets reserved
- 2 3.5 oz. packages Ichiban ramen noodles, seasoning packets reserved
- + canola oil, for frying
Combine the water, salt, and sugar in a 6-quart saucepan over high heat; cook until the salt and sugar have dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the brine cool. Cut the chicken into 12 pieces: 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, and wings and breasts into 2 pieces each; add to brine and refrigerate for 3 1/2 hours. (Remove the chicken from the brine and hold in the refrigerator until ready to use if you need to do this in advance of frying the chicken.)
Using a high-powered blender, grind ramen noodles into a fine powder. (This can also be accomplished by using a food processor to pulverize the ramen noodles into small bits, and then a coffee grinder to get it to a powder. Or sub 3 cups all-purpose flour for the ground-up noodles.) Stir one of the seasoning packets into the ground noodles (or flour).
Stir a seasoning packet into the buttermilk; remove chicken from brine and place in buttermilk. Heat 2 inches of oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven or deep-fryer to 340°F. Working in batches, dip chicken pieces in flour mixture, then add to oil; cook, turning as needed, until chicken is crispy and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, 10-12 minutes. Remove using tongs and let drain on paper towels. While still warm, sprinkle the contents of the remaining seasoning packets over the fried chicken. Eat hot.