This story appears in the November 2016 issue of Playboy. Subscribe

It took only 70 years or so for hot chicken to become an overnight foodie cult hit. Legend has it a jealous girlfriend served an overly spiced dish of fried chicken to a Nashville playboy named Thornton Prince; her attempt at revenge turned into the signature offering of the restaurant Prince’s Hot Chicken. In recent years other establishments, including Hattie B’s in Nashville and Howlin’ Ray’s in Los Angeles, have tweaked the formula for the incendiary dish. L.A. chef Kuniko Yagi gives us a brilliant Asian-Southern, soy-and-sriracha-spiked interpretation that ups the umami. Gentlemen, start your fryers.

Kuniko’s Hot Chicken

• 8 chicken drumsticks
• 2 qts. rice bran oil


• 2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 tbsp. sriracha
• 1 tbsp. mirin
• 1 tsp. sugar
• ½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. garlic powder
• ¼ tsp. ground white pepper
• ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
• 1 large egg
• 3 tbsp. cornstarch


• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• ½ tbsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. ground white pepper
• ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
• ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper


Pour all marinade ingredients except egg and cornstarch into a large bowl. Stir. Add egg, mix thoroughly, then add cornstarch and mix again. Place chicken legs in marinade mixture and marinate for at least 30 minutes. In another large bowl, combine dredging ingredients. In a four-quart pot, heat rice bran oil to 325 degrees. Dip chicken legs in dredging mixture to coat. Fry in small batches for 10 minutes or until chicken reaches 160 degrees inside.