Servings: 2 people
Based on what’s most available, you can choose different fat to render the cracklings. Chicken skins (what’s used here) will give you chicken skin cracklings + chicken fat/schmaltz. Pork fat (what’s generally used in Asia for this purpose) will give you pork cracklings + pork fat/lard. And of course if you happen to have access to duck skins… oh lucky you. The recipe is what you need for exactly 2 servings, but of course, it will make total sense to double or even triple the crack-portion and store it in the fridge for future use (instructions follows).
I used the method of stacking, rolling, then freezing the chicken skins to get an even, unified thin slices. Of course if you want to just throw them in a bag and freeze, then cut into very small pieces, it’s not gonna ruin the dish. Whatever you do, flash-freeze the skin until hardens will make things a lot easier.
The recipe has MSG. Every single bowl of noodles you get from either restaurants or street-vendors in Asia, has MSG. But if you’re not gonna use it, the dish will taste great anyways. Just not as great.
The crack (makes for 2 servings):
- 6.2 oz (175 grams/approx from 2 large whole legs) of chicken skins, rinsed clean and dab dry
- 5 small or 4 medium Asian shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp of ground white peper
To make the crack: Stack the chicken skins on top of each other over a large plastic-wrap. Roll the chicken skins into a thick log as tightly as you can, then twist the two ends of the plastic-wrap together to secure. Apply another layer of plastic-wrap if need to. Freeze for at least 2 hours until harden. Then remove from the plastic-wrap and cut into thin slices, which will give you even strips of chicken skins. Add the skins to a non-stick pot/non-stick deep skillet (just trust me on this…) over medium heat. Let the skins render out its own fat, and stir occasionally as they slowly dehydrate and crisp up as they fries (they will get sticky mid-way through frying, then not-sticky again when they’re done), until they are golden-brown and crispy, approx 8~9 min. Drain through a fine sieve. Then season it immediately with 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt and 1/4 tsp of ground white paper. Set aside.
You should have approx 1/4 ~ 1/3 cup of chicken fat. Add however much vegetable oil you need to make it a heaping 1/2 cup, and return it to the same pot/skillet. Add the thinly sliced shallots and cook over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the shallots dehydrates and turn lightly golden-browned, approx 10 min (they will continue to darken a bit, and will crisp up after removed from the oil). Drain through a fine sieve, then immediately season with 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt and 1/4 tsp of ground white pepper. Mix the fried shallots and chicken cracklings together, season with more fine sea salt if need to. Set aside.
If you want to store crack. Freeze the chicken crackling + fried shallots in an air-tight container, and refrigerate the oil in an air-tight container.
The slurp/noodle (makes for 1 serving only/for each bowl):
- 2 tbsp of crack-oil (the reserved fat)
- 3 tbsp of crack (chicken crackling + fried shallots)
- The carb: 14 oz (400 grams) of fresh, thick-cut Chinese hand-rolled noodles
- The paste: 1/2 tbsp of sichuan douban chili paste
- The seasoning:
- 1 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp of dark soy sauce (mainly adds color to the dish)
- 1/4 tsp of rice vinegar
- 1/4 tsp of sugar
- 1/8 tsp of MSG, optional
- The spices:
- 1/2 tsp of ground red sichuan peppercorn
- 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper
- The aromatics/herbs:
- 1 smashed garlic clove
- 1/4 cup of finely diced scallions
To make the slurp/noodle: Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix 2 tbsp of crack-oil, douban chili paste, all the seasonings and spices, and 1 smashed garlic clove (smashed enough to release flavour, but intact so you can pick it out later) until even. Cook the noodle until done, then drain through a slotted spoon and add to the bowl. Mix well, add a couple tbsp of the cooking water if it’s too dry. Then top with 3 tbsp of crack and the diced scallions. Mix again, and slurp.