Fried Chicken and Steamed Rice Held in CVap Stay So Nice!
Uncle Jack Fried Chicken is a Malaysian restaurant chain that uses our Collectramatic pressure fryers to cook fried chicken. Ordinarily they placed the finished chicken in a display warmer for serving. To maximize holding time, they limited the warmer to 35°C (95°F), putting a limit on the amount of time they could hold cooked chicken before it was no longer fit to sell. We suggested they test our CVap holding cabinet, in the hopes of extending their holding time and improving food quality. The test results were exciting!
Holding Cabinet Preparation: The CVap Holding Cabinet was set at food temperature 54°C (129°F) and food texture at + 28°C (82°F). The evaporator was filled with hot water, and the cabinet was allowed to preheat for 45 minutes, to reach full temperature.
12:05pm: Chicken was cooked and removed from the fryer, and put into holding cabinet (15 pieces). Initial taste of chicken: crispy outside, moist inside and meat is very hot to touch and taste.
12:10pm: Cooked rice (wrapped in oil paper) is put into the same holding cabinets with fried chicken. Initial taste of rice: moist, sticky, and fragrant.
13:05pm: (holding 60 minutes)
Chicken was still crispy outside (though very slightly less crisp than when first removed from fryer), moist inside, still hot, and color had not changed. The chicken breading remained crisp.
13:35pm (holding for 90 minutes）
Chicken was still crispy and moist. Color was good. Food retained flavor, with minimal loss of freshness.
13:55pm (holding for 2 hours)
The skin remained crispy, though not as crisp as when it was initially fried. Flavor and moisture were still good. Color had not darkened.
14:00pm (rice held for 2 hours)
Rice was hot and tasted fresh; not dried out at all.
15:35pm (3.5 hour holding time)
Chicken tasted good, skin remained crispy, meat was moist. Although the chicken was not “just cooked” fresh after 3.5 hours, it was still at safe temperature, and appetizing enough to serve.
15:40pm (after holding for 3.5 hours)
Rice was hot, and texture was good.
These photos, taken at different times over the course of testing, give you an idea of the appearance of the food.
Electricity Consumption: 800 watts
Holding Capacity per Cabinet: 13 full size sheet pans, each rack equals one basket (4 heads) chicken, or 338 pieces
CVap Holding Cabinet Test Conclusions
Goals for Future Testing
- Extending the holding time for the chicken without compromising the texture, taste, and food safety.
- Testing other products, (wrapped rice was incorporated).
- Improving staff work flow.
- Staff can pre-prepare chicken during lean hours in preparation for peak hours, thus shortening the waiting time while producing the best tasting fried chicken.
- During lean hours, customers can still savor the taste of freshly fried chicken from the holding cabinet.
- Minimize food shrinkage.
- Minimlize food waste.
- Extension of holding times for other foods is possible, since CVap cabinets are versatile enough to hold both crispy and moist foods.
One Final Note – CVap Technology is great, but it’s not magic.
The very nature of fried foods (crisp outside with moist interior) promotes evaporation. CVap technology is the best available to maximize holding time, but even CVap, using the necessary high differential setting (the difference of food texture setting over the food temperature setting) will eventually lose the battle to maintain food temp and freshness. It’ll hold fresh longer than the competitors, but if the food is crunchy (fried chicken, French fries, etc), it can only be held for so long.
On the other hand, moist foods, such as rice or noodles, are perfect for CVap, and can be held for many hours with no loss of temperature or quality.
The consensus of the Uncle Jack test was that it was possible to lengthen the holding time for chicken. More testing would be needed to perfect the texture, taste and crispiness, to come up with the Uncle Jack Standard Operating Procedure.
I get the opportunity to travel to several western states and work with our customers and see how they use CVap. The item that seems to be moving to the center of the plate is rice. Rice continues to be the topic of discussion here in the states, and in many other cultures it has been a staple for years.
CVap for holding rice is a no-brainer! It can hold rice better than any appliance out there. For me, it has been interesting working with customers using their current procedure for cooking rice. It usually consists of boiling, steaming, or using a gas or electric rice cooker. And then the dance before the cooking begins – rinsing until water runs clear, continuing to rinse 3 – 10 times, then finally soaking rinsed rice anywhere from two hours to overnight.
It has to be exhausting trying to find that perfect procedure to produce the same result over and over again!
Now let’s discuss the Winston CAC series CVap Cook & Hold oven with a temperature range from 90°F to 350°F. Let the creativity begin.
For this particular cycle, we are going to use Basmati rice.
- Measure out 2 pounds of rice (4 cups)
- Rinse thoroughly three times
- Soak two hours
- Place in hotel pan
- Pour in 4 pounds of water (7 3/4 cups)
- Cover with lid or foil
Winston CAC settings
- Constant cook ON
- Doneness: 200
- Browning: 2
- Time: 35
- Use a 12x20x2.5″ hotel pan with cover, load oven and push start.
Finally, rice perfection achieved!
In closing, a bit of rice trivia; in 2009 the world consumption of rice was 531.6 million metric tons.
I have the pleasure of being Winston Industries’ School Nutrition Guru, so I get to travel the U.S. and see and talk to School Nutrition departments of all kinds. Many are similar in structure, but really the personality of each district is based on those people who serve and are served by it. It naturally makes me proud to see Winston equipment in so many kitchens across the country. I really am fond of seeing the pride in the teams who love what they do and the kids who love the awesome and healthy food that is being produced now. That’s been real head turner for me!
This is an American story.
There is an emerging trend of Native American fare starting to make its way onto restaurant menus. A great example can be found at a restaurant called Ulele (pronounced You-lay-lee) in Tampa, Florida, where they celebrate a vibrant fusion of ingredients from the waters and land that was once home to many Native Americans, including the young princess Ulele. Check out their website at www.ulele.com. If you travel to Tampa and stop in at Ulele, ask for Chef Eric Lackey and tell him JJ sent you!
But what makes this story uniquely American is how we adopt foods that lean toward the ethnicities that have emigrated here. This is happening in schools across the country and kids everywhere love the variety, and of course for some it is a learning experience!
In 2012, the School Nutrition Association noted a growing prevalence of ethnic food choices in school cafeterias, with schools offering Mexican and Asian dishes, and many experimenting with Middle Eastern, Greek, Kosher/Halal, and Indian foods.
Students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools have been invited to choose from Teriyaki Chicken with Lo Mein Noodles; Curry Chicken Salad; Black Beans & Rice Bowls and Cuban-style Roast Pork. The district offers a wide range of Hispanic dishes throughout the year, including Arroz Con Pollo and Picadillo with Rice and Plantains. (Source: Diane Pratt-Heavner, Director of Media Relations, SNA-The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science)
School nutrition future leaders recently met for the National Leadership Conference in Minneapolis. This part of the story of Somalis coming to Minneapolis-St. Paul is a story of freedom. Somalis first immigrated to the Twin Cities as voluntary migrants in the 1980s and earlier. They journeyed to attend scholastic institutions or to establish businesses, including many professions. Other Somalis arrived in the United States after the start of the civil war in Somalia during the early 1990s, or from other parts of Greater Somalia. Many of the newer arrivals moved to Minnesota through voluntary agencies (VOLAGS), who helped them settle in. Somalis that had arrived earlier also assisted the more recent immigrants (Wikipedia).
So of course Somali food from home had a profound effect on the Twin Cities and made its way on to school lunch menus in both school districts.
Chicken Suqqar is basically meat and veggies, Somali style. It was such a big hit at St. Paul School District’s Somali Parent Advisory Council meeting that they released the recipe for home use! I thought you might like to try it! I suggest a Brown Basmati rice under the mixture, I used boxed broth instead of chicken base and reduced it with chicken breast then removed and diced the chicken, added it back in and then followed the Chicken Suqqar directions. I also chose fresh carrots. You can do it anyway you like because this dish very versatile.
By the way, the school nutrition department where your kids go to school would be more than happy to have you as a guest to try the food being served. Just go to the district website and click on the Food and Nutrition Department. My experience has been that they want you to share their sense of pride in the local delicious diversity that they serve as a part of your community.