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..Yurinchi..Chinese Sweet & Sour Fried Chicken..

Yurinchi Chinese inspired fried chicken marinaded and dressed in a sweet and sour sauce

I spent my last birthday in Japan and to celebrate, I went with my family to a local Chinese restaurant. This is what I ate there - Yurinchi. I am not sure of the origins of Yurinchi although it is reputed to have its roots in Guangdong in southern China. The Chinese characters (油淋鶏 = Yurinchi, although some pronounce it:Yurinji,) simply tell you that the dish is "chicken fried in oil". So, I may not be able to tell you much about this recipe's history but the one thing I can say with confidence is that Yurinchi is one of those Chinese origin dishes which the Japanese love. I have to say, I think it is a great way to serve fried chicken particularly if your tastebuds enjoy sweet and sour combinations. The sauce that is served with the chicken is a mixture of garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, brown vinegar and a dash of sesame oil.

Yurinchi is usually made using chicken thighs with the skin on. Now, I'm not a great lover of chicken skin so I remove it before cooking. (If you do the same, don't throw the skin away - freeze it and use it when you make a home made yakitori sauce - the skin gives the sauce a little more flavour and makes it slightly oily - ideal for the barbecue.)

There are two keys to getting the most out of this dish - first, the marinade. This is a mixture of ginger, garlic, soy sauce and Chinese Shaoxing wine (you could use Japanese sake as a subsititute at a pinch or even a little dry white wine.) I advise you to marinate the chicken thighs for at least 15 minutes but preferably up to 1 hour, (overnight even better).

Once you've marinated the chicken, pour off most of the juice, leaving a little behind for the next step in preparation. Your second key to a successful Yurinchi is the coating - here, I use potato flour - quite a lot of potato flour, actually - about 6 - 8 tablespoons - potato flour is great for this dish but it becomes quite crunchy when it is fried. Sprinkle the potato flour over both sides of the chicken thighs and make sure that the leftover juices get absorbed into the flour coating as this will both flavour the flour and make it sticky - the more time you take to do this, the more flavoursome your Yurinchi chicken will be.

Most recipes will tell you to deep fry Yurinchi but I shallow fry. Less oil = less calories and less waste. Depending on the thickness of your chicken thighs, it should take about 3 - 4 minutes per side to cook them through over a medium/high heat - do make sure to check that they are cooked. The potato flour and marinade should by this time have turned into a golden brown colour and have a nice crunchy texture.

Once your chicken is cooked, rest it on kitchen paper for a minute or two to absorb any excess oil. Then slice the thighs into 6 - 7 pieces crossways and transfer to a bed of shredded lettuce. On serving, drizzle your sauce over the chicken and there you have it - a delicious, flavourful dish of Yurinchi - Chinese Sweet and Sour Soy Fried Chicken.

If you would like to try this dish in your own kitchen, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Yurinchi - Chinese Sweet and Sour Soy Fried Chicken or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The full written recipe is just below.

Happy frying! Kurumi XXXX.



(makes 2 servings)

for the chicken & marinade:

2 boneless chicken thighs (300g / 10 oz)

1/2 tsp ginger paste

1/2 tsp garlic paste

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Chinese Shaohsing wine (紹興酒)

6 - 7 tbsp potato flour

6 - 7 sunflower oil

for the sauce:

3 spring onions, rinse

1/2 garlic paste

1/2 ginger paste

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 lettuce, finely shredded


how to:

marinate the chicken thighs in a dish or bowl with 1/2 tsp of ginger, 1/2 tsp of garlic, 1 tbsp of soy sauce & 1 tbsp of Chinese Shaohsing wine for at least 15 mins (but preferably up to 1 hour)

at this stage, if the chicken is particularly thick, score the flesh with a knife or fork so that it cooks through without taking so long that the potato flour burns

while the chicken is marinading, make your sweet and sour sauce. chop the spring onions finely and put them in a bowl. add 1/2 tsp of garlic, 1/2 tsp of ginger, 2 tbsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tsp of sesame oil to the bowl. stir well until the sugar is dissolved into the sauce

when the chicken has marinated for at least 15 minutes, drain the excess liquid away. coat the thighs with potato flour on the both side. keep massaging the flour into the chicken with a fork until al the remaining sauce has been absorbed into the flour and the flour is stuck to the chicken

heat about 6 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan. fry the chicken for 3 - 4 minutes, adjusting the heat if the oil gets too hot

turn over and fry again for another 3-4 minutes. remove the chicken thighs from the pan and leave to rest for 1-2 minutes on some kitchen paper.

slice the chicken thighs crossways into 6-7 pieces per thigh

arrange the shredded lettuce on a serving plate. place the chicken thighs onto the lettuce. last, drizzle the sweet and sour sauce over the chicken

your Yurinchi Chinese Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken is ready to serve


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