Secret Recipe: Hopscotch's Soy Buttermilk Fried Chicken


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Since its June opening, Oakland’s Hopscotch hasn’t wasted any time making an impression: It just made East Bay magazine Diablo’s list of the Best New Restaurants. In honor of the award, we bring you chef Kyle Itani’s fusion Fried Chicken, cleverly altered with a blend of southern and Japanese ingredients and techniques. They serve it with fried shishito peppers and a warm salad of shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves), frisee, and Treviso, but it’s just as tasty on its own. 

 Soy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Serves 2-3

6 pieces organic chicken leg and thigh, bone in, skin on

Frying oil (Peanut, safflower, sunflower, or canola)


1 ounce soy sauce

2 tablespoons Japanese Karashi mustard (or spicy brown mustard)

4 ounces buttermilk

1/4 cup Katakuriko potato starch (or corn starch)

3 ounces milk

1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated (about 2 1/2 to 3 teaspoons) 


2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups potato or corn starch

1. Cut the back side of the chicken leg to expose the bone. Starting at the top of the bone run your knife down along it, being careful to not cut through the skin on the other side.

2. From this incision, slightly butterfly the meat open away from the bone.

3. Spin the chicken leg 180 degrees, and do the same to the other side of the bone.

4. Mix the soy sauce and mustard together in a bowl. 

5. Add the buttermilk and potato starch and whisk to combine.

6. Add the milk and ginger and whisk to combine.

7. Submerge the chicken pieces in the marinade for at least 4 hours (overnight or over two nights is even better).

8. When you are ready to fry, bring a large pot filled halfway with oil to 350 degrees.

9. Drain the chicken thighs in a colander.

10. Dredge each piece, heavily coating the chicken thighs all over.

11. Slowly ease the chicken into the oil, being very careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry for about 8 minutes.

12. Pull from the fryer and drain on a rack or thick stack of paper towels.

13. Run a pairing knife along the bone to check that the chicken is fully cooked. If it is still pink inside, drop back into the fryer until it is done.