Monday, 5 October 2015

Fried Chicken

Due to a little shopping confusion the man of the house came home with chicken breasts, I think that they may have been placed in with the thighs and he is a 'grab and go' sort of man. Chicken breast is not something that I would normally purchase, however, I do like it for fried chicken. Equally rarely do I make fried foods, saving this pleasure for dining out. I was feeling inspired by a visit to this place and it was a hot night making it the perfect occasion for fried chicken. Side dishes of potato salad, coleslaw can be made in advance leaving you free to concentrate on cooking the chicken. Cold leftover chicken makes a delicious salad.

Over the years I have read many articles about the art of making perfect fried chicken - there are lots of variations and opinions. The technique that I use, synthesised from all of this reading and a few experiments produces juicy pieces of chicken in a lightly spiced crispy coating. It also cooks quite quickly as there are no bones and the meat is a uniform thickness.

I use a deep saucepan/ pasta pot and a long handled slotted spoon.  Oil can be reused. Allow to cool and strain through a sieve or muslin. Use a funnel to return the oil to the original bottle and label 'used for frying'

Remove the chicken from the oil and place onto paper towel. Check that the chicken is cooked. If not return to the hot oil or place on a rack in the oven to finish cooking.

Fried Chicken
2 -4 chicken breasts
sliced slightly diagonally into 3 or 4 pieces

1 1/2 cups buttermilk or 
1/2 cup yoghurt and 1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder

To Fry
2-4 cups grapeseed or other oil for frying
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons onion powder – optional

*For a hot and spicy version add 1 -2 teaspoons of chilli powder and substitute hot smoked paprika

Combine marinade ingredients on a bowl, mix well.
Add chicken pieces; stir to make sure all the chicken is covered with the marinade.
Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight or for as long as possible.

To Make Coating
Combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag, close the top and shake to make sure the spices are evenly mixed through the flour.
Check the flavour /seasoning – wet your finger, dip it into the flour and taste, ignore the raw flour flavour, and adjust with a little more salt, spice according to your taste.

Cooking the Chicken
Remove each piece of chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off. Place the chicken, one or two pieces at a time in the bag of coating and shake.  Place on a clean plate or tray. Continue until all chicken is coated.

For Deep Frying
Heat the oil in a deep frypan until very hot. I use a deep saucepan. The oil needs to completely cover the chicken.
Test the temperature, flour should foam and sizzle or a cube of bread go golden brown. Use a thermometer (175deg C)if you have one.
Carefully lower the chicken into the oil, a few pieces at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan. The oil temperature will drop so increase the heat to compensate and then reduce as gets back to the original temperature.
When chicken is cooked and golden brown ( approximately 6 -10 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.) remove from the hot oil and place on some paper towel. Chicken can be kept warm in the oven, place on a cake cooler on a tray so that warm air is going around the chicken. Use a slotted spoon if you have one.
Continue cooking the chicken.

To Shallow Fry
Use less oil and heat oil as for deep frying. The oil needs to come halfway up the sides of the chicken.
Chicken needs to be turned over and will take longer to cook.


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