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I tried pan fried chicken and pre-cooked the chicken sous vide. This meant that the chicken just needed to be crisped once it went in the pan. I dredged in flour then egg and then panko (Japanese bread crumbs). The chicken was cooked perfectly and the crust was really nice, but the two didn't stay together when cut. The breading would shear right off.

I did not dry the chicken after removing from the sous vide, so it was a little damp.

How can I get the breading to adhere better to the chicken? Flour, egg, Panko works great for raw chicken. How can I get it to stick to the pre-cooked stuff?

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How long do you have to fry it before the breading cooks through. Surely this would defeat one of the best points of sous-vide chicken? I would use a light tempura style batter and deep fry for maybe 20 seconds –  TFD Apr 5 '11 at 3:40
    
On the second last episode of Top Chef, one of the chefs almost went home for attempting fried chicken using that exact technique... –  talon8 Apr 5 '11 at 19:43
    
@tfd, it didn't take more than 30 seconds a side to cook the breading, I don't thing. While I'm sure it did cook the chicken somewhat more, but I don't think it was much. –  yossarian Apr 5 '11 at 23:55

5 Answers 5

Drying the chicken shouldn't have been an issue (or not much of one) as long as the flour was sticking. My guess would be that when raw, the heat from cooking causes the flour & egg to bind with the surface of the chicken. Since the proteins in cooked chicken are already denatured, this can't happen when you're using sous vide chix.

I cannot think of a way around this though. Hopefully someone else here can.

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Hmmmm. Well, I hope that's not the final answer, because the chicken was really yummy. –  yossarian Apr 4 '11 at 17:40
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This is just a guess, but maybe you could brush the chicken with egg, then dip in flour, then dip in more egg and finally panko. That way you would get a layer of raw protein between the chicken and the flour. –  Henrik Söderlund Apr 4 '11 at 18:23
    
Yes, Henrik, but I am not sanguine that would result in the breading sticking any better. Especially since the flour would just make a slurry with the initial egg coating, and wouldn't stick at all. Basically what's happening is the uncooked proteins aren't bonding with the cooked proteins, as the latter are denatured and don't have anything for the raw proteins to grab onto. Batter might work better, maybe? –  daniel Apr 4 '11 at 19:53

Use cornflour instead, or at least a 50/50 ratio at least.

Alternatively, try a little grated cheese in the breadcrumbs.

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How would doing either of those things alleviate the problem, namely the crust not sticking to the chicken? Cornstarch won't make much difference if at all, and the addition of cheese into the breadcrumbs will actually make an even harder shell. –  daniel Apr 5 '11 at 3:17

Dave Arnold over at Cooking Issues says the following:

What I do is brine and cook the chicken breast in salted milk at 63 degrees in a ziploc, take it out of the bag hot, put the chicken on a cooling rack, force dry the outside with a convection, then flour/(buttermilk+egg+baking powder/baking soda/salt/pepper)/flour, then fry at 375F. I haven't had problems with adhesion.

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The typical issue is that dry won't stick to dry, and wet won't stick to wet, so you have to alternate but not build up too thick of a given layer.

As raw chicken tends to be wet, you add a little flour to it ... but if it's already dried from the cooking, you'd be better off going straight to wet (buttermilk, egg wash, etc.), and then getting the breadcrumbs onto it.

Also, too thick of any of the layers will cause problems, so if you are flouring, make sure that you knock off any loose flour before going into the wet, and then let the wet drip as best you can before going into the breadcrumbs. Also, if it was too wet when coming out of the bag (which you hint at), you might have similar problems. If you're going to flour, you want it slightly damp, but not overly wet; patting dry might've helped.

I've also seen quite a few recipes that call for letting the breaded items sit on a wire rack for a while before attempting to fry, and most claim it's for improved adhesion, but I don't know what the specific process involved is (if it's just simple drying out of the wet layer, or if there's some other process going on).

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The three step method should work for this.

This being dredge the cooked chicken in flour, then egg wash and finally the bread crumbs(ideally Panko bread crumbs).

The other way is to do a tempura batter. But to make sure the tempura batter is effective, make sure to dredge the chicken in flour first.

Good Luck,

I will be doing this soon and I can give the results. The three step method is the best method I have found for breading and frying meats in general.

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