Expat’s Fried Chicken Recipe
This KFC style fried chicken is a cheaper and healthier alternative
Fried chicken isn’t just an American fast food, it’s a solid staple of Asian cuisine too.
Some consider brining (soaking in salted water overnight) too time-consuming, but it is key if you want to lock in the meat’s moisture and get the maximum favour. If you do this, you can use a ‘dry brine’ of spices, herbs and lemons, or a wet brine mixture of buttermilk, salt and spices.
There are also two camps for the coating – either a simple roll in cornmeal or a dip in buttermilk and then seasoned four.
To achieve the tastiest, crisp coating and tender flesh, I’ve found that the best method is to use a dry brine, then dip in buttermilk and four. The key to frying the chicken is to keep the oil at a low and steady temperature. If it is too hot, the outside will overcook before the flesh is done.
Personally, I prefer to use chicken breasts cut into four quarters but you can use whatever cut of the chicken you prefer.
- 10 chicken pieces (about 1.25kg), on the bone, skin on
- 300ml buttermilk (see below to make your own)
- 1 large egg
- 1-2 litres groundnut oil (depending on your pot)
- grilled corn on the cob, skinny fries and coleslaw, to serve (optional)
For the dry brine:
- zest 2 lemons
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt
For the spiced flour:
- 225g plain flour
- 3 tbsp cornflour
- 3 tsp garlic granules
- 3 tsp salt
- 3 tsp chilli powder or black pepper
Make your own buttermilk
Most supermarkets now stock buttermilk, but if you want to make your own, simply add 1 tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar to 250ml full-fat milk and set aside for 10 mins. It will curdle into a thick mixture, then it is ready to use.
- Put all the dry brine ingredients in a large dish. Add the chicken, toss to coat well, then cover and chill for 12-24 hrs.
- Put all the four spiced ingredients in another dish or a large bowl, add a good grind of black pepper and combine well.
- Put the buttermilk and egg in another bowl and lightly whisk until well combined.
- Start to coat the chicken. Using one hand, dip the pieces in the buttermilk, making sure they are completely coated.
- Using your other hand, roll the chicken in the spiced flour until covered all over.
- Place the chicken on a wire rack with a baking tray underneath. Now you’re ready to start frying.
- Fill a deep cast-iron frying pan or heavy-based medium saucepan half full of oil and heat until the temperature reaches 170C on a cooking thermometer. Put a wire rack* on a second tray, ready to drain the fried chicken.
- Heat oven to 150C. Place 3-4 pieces of chicken into the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook for 10-12 mins. Poke your thermometer into the meat – it will be cooked when it reaches 73C.
- The oil temperature will drop when you add the chicken – adjust the heat to keep it steady at 140C during the cooking process. Once cooked, transfer the chicken to the clean wire rack* and keep warm in the oven. Bring the oil back to 170C before cooking the next batch. Serve with your choice of sides.
* You’ll need to cook the chicken in batches. A wire rack over a tray is better than kitchen paper for draining, as kitchen paper will make the chicken go soggy.
After cooling, clean the oil by pouring it through a funnel with a fabric coffee filter in it into a bowel. This will remove most of the flour and debris from the oil.