Kimchi is visibly present as a topping, but kimchi juices work together with buttermilk to ensure we have a tender, succulent, and tasty piece of chicken in this burger.
While a chicken burger had been on my list for some time, it was Kenji Lopez-Alt’s story on Serious Eats that inspired me to actually make this chicken kimchi burger. The version presented here diverted quite a bit from the Kenji’s Serious Eats version. For one thing, it is a lot simpler. I love Kenji’s work at Serious Eats, though I think he got a little carried away with this one.
The chicken and the kimchi are the stars of this burger. The mayo, however, should not be underestimated. Kewpie mayo is a Japanese mayo that is a little more vinegary than the European variety. Here it is combined with yuzu kosho (salted fermented chilli) and katsuobushi (fermented and smoked bonito). Not only does this mayo work really well in this chicken kimchi burger, it is a great combination that works in many situations, including as a salad dressing.
And why kimchi? It can be something of an acquired taste for those less familiar with Asian flavours. Acquiring a taste for kimchi is something you should absolutely do if you do not already love the stuff. Sweet, sour, hot, funky, and… very healthy. Just what your gut bacteria needs. For a few more kimchi recipes you could start here.
Chicken kimchi burger
- 1 cup buttermilk substitute with unsweetened drinking yogurt
- 1/2 cup kimchi juice drained from a pack of kimchi
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 Tbsp chilli flakes
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large chicken breasts or 4 small ones
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- Cooking oil for deep frying.
- 5 Tbsp kewpie mayo
- 1 tsp yuzu kosho
- 1/4 cup katsuobushi finely diced
- 1 cup diced kimchi drained already for the brine
- 4 hamburger buns
- 40 g butter
- Whisk together all the brine ingredients except for the chicken.
- If using two large chicken breasts, cut in half.
- Working one-by-one, put a chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap.
- Bash with a heavy object until the chicken is 10-15 mm thick.
- Trim the piece of chicken so that it is the right size for your hamburger buns.
- Place the chicken pieces and brine into a zip-loc bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, pr preferably overnight.
- Combine the mayo, yuzu kosho, and katsuobushi and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour for the flavours to meld.
- Remove the zip-lock bag of chicken from the refrigerator and allow to come up to room temperature (about 20 minutes).
- Lightly whisk the eggs.
- Combine the breadcrumbs, cornstarch, sesame seeds, salt and garlic powder.
- Bring the cooking oil up to 140 degC.
- Drain most of the brine from the zip-loc bag. Then add the whisked eggs and toss to coat the eggs well.
- One by one, remove a chicken breast from the zip-lock bag and coat with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Fry for 5-6 minutes. Check the underside after 4 minutes. When golden, flip it over and cook for another 4 minutes. The internal temp of the chicken breast should be around 72-73 degC.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Warm the buns in the oven so that they crisp up a little.
- Melt the butter in a skillet.
- Halve the buns and lay cut side down in the skillet until starting to brown.
- Apply some mayo to the base.
- Lay on a piece of chicken.
- Top with some kimchi, and the top half of the bun.