By now all the conscientious food bloggers have said their piece about Yardbird. I'm not here to add to the praise, because this bird is getting a big ego, and an even bigger queue outside its doors every night, thanks to the damn no-reservations system. Last time we went, we got there at 630 -- we were seated instantly, but only at the bar, and spend the night surrounded by people ostensibly waiting for a table, but full-on pigging out on entrees from a standing position. It makes visiting the restaurant kind of daunting, so I thought, why not recreate some of our Yardbird faves at home? We put five recipes to the test, with varying results.
Left: DIY chicken meatball yakitori. Right: Yardbird version.
Organic chicken thigh, onion, salt, pepper, seven-spice powder, soy sauce, brown sugar, egg.
Chop an organic boneless chicken thigh and quarter of an onion into bits then stick them in the mincer. Marinate with salt, pepper. Form meatball shapes and then deep-fry for 10 seconds or so to set the shape. Skewer, sprinkle with Japanese seven-spice powder (shichimi) , then stick in the oven on foil for 20-odd minutes, turning over halfway. Serve with dipping sauce of sweetened soy sauce with egg yolk.
Review: Yums. Somebody kinda forgot to separate the eggs, so our sauce ended up a bit watery (like hotpot soy sauce 'n egg) but otherwise good.
Top: DIY Fried Chicken with kewpie. Bottom: Yardbird version.
Three organic chicken thighs, flour, egg, salt, pepper, sesame oil, sugar, kewpie mayo.
Chop into bite-sized pieces, keeping skin. Marinate with salt, pepper, sesame oil, sugar, whatever else you want. Dip in beaten egg, coat liberally in a fluffy flour, then deep fry. Serve with kewpie, God's gift to the stomach.
Review: can barely differentiate from the original.
Left: DIY rice cakes. Right: Yardbird version.
Rice cakes, sesame/seaweed furikake seasoning, honey.
Cook rice cakes in boiling water for a couple of minutes to soften, then stir-fry. Sprinkle furikake (rice seasoning) liberally across the rice cakes, then spray or paint with honey to sweeten. When it's all nice a crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, serve.
Review: Pretty good on the spot, and REALLY good as leftover's at 3am last Friday night after boozy Halloween festivities. We got every shape and size of rice cake in a bulk deal at the food fair, and we chose to use these skinny long ones, which crispy up nicely and you don't have to spend forever chewing. But it depends on what you like, really.
Top: DIY Korean Fried Cauliflower. Bottom: Yardbird version.
Cauliflower, Korean chilli paste, ketchup, honey, corn syrup, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, flour.
Combine all the ingredients except the cauliflower and flour in a bowl. I can't give you exact amounts because I just eyed it, but it's sort of like... big spoonful of chilli paste, big squirt of ketchup, big squirt of honey, biiig squirt of corn syrup, two tablespoons of soy, a dash of sugar and a spoon of cornstarch. Just do it to taste and texture. Chop cauliflower, coat in flour and deep-fry, then coat again. Remove and drain, then fry in sauce to coat.
Review: Ehhh. First off, we actually didn't double-fry it. Second, I think to better approximate the Yardbird version, maybe a coating off egg batter before the flour would improve the verisimilitude. We also poured in a little too much sauce, so pour as you go, don't just dump it all in like we did.
Left: Yardbird corn tempura. Right: DIY version.
1-2 cans summer crisp corn, 1 cup flour, 1 cup ice water, 1 egg.
Make batter from ingredients above, then throw in corn. Deep-fry spoonfuls until golden-brown and crispy.
Review: We got a bit too caught up trying to make them into balls, when we should have just let them be frittery. What I mean by that is that we added MORE flour to make the corn tempura more stiff and shapeable. Which also made them super doughy. A bit of a fail, but fixable for next time!