Photo: Kevin Pang

Umami Issues is The Takeout’s exploration of cooking food with the rich, savory, mysterious taste sensation known as umami. 

If I’m ever to be associated with a recipe, this is it. It’s something I came up with one night playing mix-and-match with the contents of my fridge. I had leftover KFC fried chicken from a party I hosted, and made a chicken salad out of it. It was junky, ridiculous, over-the-top, and damn delicious.

Then, in an issue of the late Lucky Peach, I mentioned this concoction as a throwaway line. Immediately after it was published, I began hearing about it from friends. Someone wrote about it on their blog. I was invited on TV to make the dish. It took on a life of its own.

A few thoughts. It must be KFC Original Recipe chicken. I’m not saying it wouldn’t work with Popeye’s, but something about the interaction of the 11 herbs & spices with the Kewpie mayonnaise. And on that subject, it’s Kewpie or nothing. Never the twain shall meet. This will not work with Hellman’s or Kraft or any American-style mayo.

This is my legacy, folks. Not for my charity, my community service, my professional work, my attempts at being a good father and husband. This fucking chicken salad made from leftover cold KFC. I couldn’t be prouder.

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Kevin’s KFC Umami Bomb Fried Chicken Salad

Photo: Kevin Pang

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  • Leftover KFC Original Recipe chicken, chopped
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Granny Smith apple, diced
  • A few generous squigs of Kewpie mayonnaise
  • A One-Mississippi-Two of Sriracha
  • A healthy squeeze of lime juice

Combine.

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