Zankou Chicken is an extremely popular Armenian-owned fast casual restaurant chain in the greater Los Angeles area. Most notably they are famous for their epic Zankou Chicken garlic sauce. The recipe is a guarded secret, but this easy copycat recipe is the next best thing!
1large head garlic,peeled (about 14 large cloves or about 3 to 3 ¼ ounces after peeling)
¼cupfresh lemon juice
1 ½teaspoonskosher salt
½cupvegetable oil(or other neutral flavored oil)
About 4 to 4 ¼ ounces cooked russet potato,processed through a potato ricer or food mill to yield about 1 cup (see notes if mashing)
Add garlic cloves, salt, and lemon juice to the jar of a blender. Cover with the lid and puree on the highest setting. Turn off the blender and scrape down the sides.
Open the small hole on the blender lid and cover it with a paper towel to keep it from splattering everywhere. Turn the blender back on to the highest setting and slowly pour in the oil. When you've added all the oil, turn off the blender, remove the lid and scrape down the sides again. You should have a creamy white mixture.
Add 1 cup of riced/food milled cooked russet potato to the blender jar, and process on high. Turn off the blender, scrape down the sides once more, and process again until smooth. The mixture should be relatively thick.
Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight (you can enjoy it right away if you didn’t plan ahead, but the flavor and texture will mellow a bit if you allow it to rest). Adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed.
If you don't have a food mill or potato ricer you can mash the potato instead before putting it in the blender, but note that mashing will compact the potatoes so you will have more potato in 1 cup than if you riced it (weighing on a digital scale is always your best bet). If you are using mashed potato in place of riced potato, you'll need about ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (or 10 tablespoons) to yield the same amount of potato by weight.
If your garlic isn't super fresh and has any green sprouts, don't use it. You're better off using garlic that hasn't sprouted. The sprouts can add a lot of sharpness but even if you remove them from the inside of the garlic cloves, the older garlic can still taste sharper and harsher than non-sprouted garlic. Since this recipe uses so much garlic, use the freshest garlic for the best results.
This recipe recommends russet potatoes (floury/starchy potatoes) for optimal results, but in a pinch I have used waxy potatoes when that is all I've had on hand. It’s a fine substitute. Just note that if you use yellow or gold potatoes, the sauce will have a slightly more yellow color tone than pure white.
Here are some serving suggestions for your sauce:
Rotisserie chicken (store-bought is totally fine!) or roasted chicken
Chicken or beef shawarma
Roasted or grilled meats (like pork, beef, or lamb)
Spread it onto sandwiches in place of mayonnaise
Add it to rice bowls to bump up the flavor
Dip your french fries in it
Use it in pasta, potato, and chicken salads as some of your "dressing" (thin it out with some plain mayo perhaps)
This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind :) You can always add more later.