Tooigai: a fried chicken sandwich

Who doesn’t like a fried chicken sandwich? I know I’ve made my fair share of them in my 24 years of living. For this rendition, I wanted to do a Japanese take on a Southern classic. I went with milk rolls, and karaage styled fried chicken, using mochiko to crust some thigh meat. For the side, I wanted to do some fries dusted in matcha salt, as well as togarashi-black garlic ketchup. Inside of the sandwich, it’s a play on oyakodonburi(chicken/egg bowl, also translated as parent and child bowl), so you have the rice in the coating of the chicken, the tamagoyaki omelet to represent the egg, and the onion jam to represent the onion. I also added in some microherbs in there just to make you feel less guilty about your choices in making/eating this. The word “tooigai” is Japanese for welcome, while the play on oyakodonburi, being a comfort dish as well as a wordplay on parent and child, echoes that feeling of being at home, well, hopefully.

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For the milk bread:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup malted milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
1 egg white + 2 tablespoons milk

Heat the malted milk to 110 degrees before adding in the yeast and sugar, mixing to prevent lumps from forming. In a pot, melt down the butter into the heavy cream over low heat. Temper into the eggs to bring down the temperature rapidly. Sift the flour. Combine ingredients and knead for 5 minutes. Allow the dough to sit for 1 hour in a warm room. Prepare a steamer over a pot with water. Cut squares of parchment; you will place the buns on these. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll each out into ovals. Beat egg white with milk. Brush with egg white wash and finish with some salt. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 30-35 minutes.

For the tamagoyaki:
4 eggs
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dashi
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
a pinch of white pepper

Whisk together everything but the butter and oil. Line a small nonstick pan with the oil. Pour a small amount of your omelet batter into the pan and allow it to set. Roll up the egg. Pour in more again and allow that layer to set again. Roll again. Continue this until you finish using up all of your omelet batter.

For the caramelized onion jam:
1 white onion
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Julienne the onions. Sweat out with salt in the oil. Deglaze with the mirin, soy, and sugar and allow to cook down until dark brown.

For black garlic-togarashi ketchup
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves black garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon togarashi powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Combine ingredients and simmer with water. Puree and allow to reduce on medium-low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

For the mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon MSG
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
a pinch of salt

Whisk together, streaming in the oil slowly, until emulsified. Transfer to a squeeze bottle.

For the lemon-poppyseed vinaigrette:
juice from 2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons toasted poppyseeds
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon yuzu koso

Combine. Toss the microherbs in this for garnish.

For the Karaage:
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 teaspoons paprika
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
a pinch of salt
a pinch of pepper
potato or cornstarch
canola oil to fry with

Slice chicken thigh meat into 2-inch by 4-inch pieces. Toss in all ingredients besides the starch and oil and allow that to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Dry off the pieces and toss in the starch. Deep fry in 330 degree F canola oil until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel and finish with some more salt.

For the thrice cooked chips:
1/2 pound of fingerling potatoes, cut in half
canola oil
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon matcha powder

First boil the halved potatoes in heavily salted water for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a tray lined with a paper towel. Dunk into canola oil that has been heated up to about 330 degrees F for 2-3 minutes. Remove, then refry again for another 3-4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and toss in the matcha salt.

To garnish:

To assemble:
Spread the kewpie mayonnaise onto each side. Toast the halves of the buns. Place on the onion jam, karaage, tamagoyaki, microherbs, and then serve with your potatoes.

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