Shoyu-koji chicken under a brick

I literally came up with this recipe when I was shopping at my local Japanese market, and found rice koji. For those unfamiliar with the product, koji is a bacteria found on rice or grains that can be mixed with soy beans to create miso. It has a ton of umami, and it can be used to ferment and marinade things so that they have a juicier finish. So I wanted to do that with a chicken, since I was craving chicken under a brick. Since we’re defining culinary terms here, chicken under a brick is an American dish made by cooking chicken under a heavy item, just so that it will cook evenly, get really intense browning, and therefore, really delicious flavor. It’s probably the closest one can get to a rotisserie chicken, without owning a rotisserie and spit. I did not use a brick for mine, instead just using a pan covered in tin foil, but you’re welcomed to use a brick instead if that is easier!

For the components I am serving my super juicy yet crispy-skinned chicken with, we have a koji and cabbage bubble and squeak(crispy vegetable pancake found in British cooking), and a sauce made with soy sauce and koji that we used to marinate the chicken itself in. We also have nasturtiums, which are these really peppery leaves that are very common in my area of California, just to add some freshness to the dish, since it would otherwise be a ton of brown things on other brown things with a brown sauce, which is not ever a pleasant thing to look at. Overall, I would highly recommend trying out koji and using it in your cooking! It adds a lot of pleasant umami notes to anything you mix it with, and it gives a lot of richness to sauces, two things I did with this entire recipe!

For the chicken:
1 whole chicken
Marinade*
Oil

Using either kitchen sheers or a knife, cut and remove the backbone from the chicken carcass. Marinate in the koji marinade for at least one day in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Before cooking, pat the chicken dry and reserve the marinade for making your sauce. Line an oven-proof pan with oil and place down the chicken, skin side down first. Bring up to medium heat, allowing the fat to render from the skin for at least 5 minutes. Flip and sear on the bone side for another 5 minutes. Flip back onto the skin side. Place either a brick or an oven-proof pan, wrapped in aluminum foil, on top of the chicken and roast at 400 degrees F for another 10 to 12 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken should register to at least 155 degrees F on a thermometer.

For the marinade:
3 tablespoons rice koji
2 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon instant dashi

Mix together to form your marinade.

For the koji cabbage bubble and squeak:
1/2 head of green cabbage
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons rice koji
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
oil

Chiffonade and salt the cabbage. Leave the cabbage at room temperature for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water. Toss in the koji and allow that to sit, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Toss with the flour and baking powder to form a loose dough or a thick batter. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the mixture into a pan that has been lined with oil, and sear on medium heat on both sides until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel to remove any excess grease.

For the sauce:
1 shallot, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
oil
Reserved marinade
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 egg white

In a pan, sweat out the shallot and bay leaf with a small amount of oil. Once the shallots are translucent, pour in the marinade and stir, then bring to a simmer for 5 minutes on low heat, just to kill off any of the germs from the marinade being used on raw chicken. Thin out the mixture with chicken stock. Whisk an egg white until frothy and place into the sauce, allowing it to simmer for 5 minutes. Pass through a sieve to collect all of the impurities, leaving you with a completely smooth liquid. Allow that liquid to reduce for another 5 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally, until you have a sauce with the consistency of honey.

For garnish:
Nasturtiums

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