Deep frying at home is in my mind forever associated with lingering odors and spitting oil setting things on fire: a messy, dangerous proposition. I was therefore understandably reluctant to try the orange-flavored chicken from the May/June Cook's Illustrated. When my yearning for the new issue sent me back to the old one (first stop: chunky oatmeal cookies, not so exciting), I enlisted the Y to handle the boiling oil. Look how brave he is: short sleeves! The blue sunglasses are for protection, or maybe just to look awesome.
This turned out to be yet another Cook's Illustrated recipe whose complicatedness, thankfully, is more than matched by its deliciousness. I suppose it wasn't that complicated (chop stuff, make marinade, bread and fry chicken, reduce sauce), but it was time consuming. Having never deep fried anything myself, I was enthralled by the texture and taste we achieved--at home!: the chicken was dipped in egg white and then cornstarch, which left a perfectly crispy shell. We didn't even have an oil thermometer to make sure the oil was the Cook's mandated temperature, but it worked out perfectly. The Y and I resolved to attempt a sesame chicken variation once we had saved up enough energy to do it all again.
I was extraordinarily amused by the time and effort it took for us to produce a meal (however delicious) that looked exactly like...
...what everybody else in New York ordered for dinner that night and had delivered to his door in twenty minutes flat. The only delivery Chinese I've ever had that was even close to this good was the old sesame chicken from Y.Y. Doodle's, on a good night. Our sauce may look the same, but it was so aromatic and, um, saucy.