The Power of Fried Chicken

Black people love chicken.

This is an immutable fact. As much as the fact that Kenyan love their Farmer’s Choice sausages, or that Pride & Prejudice is the greatest book ever, or that Taylor Swift songs have an inexplicable catchiness that rivals even Call Me Maybe.

I’m about to share something shocking with you, though, friends. I. Don’t. Really. Like. Chicken.

Yes, it’s true! My shameful secret is out! At times this makes me question whether I really am black, then I look at myself in the mirror and am reassured that my race is not in question. I console myself by saying I’m the exception that proves the rule. It’s not that I don’t eat chicken at all; in fact there’s nothing better than my Mama’s legendary peanut-coconut chicken (which, despite several attempts, I’ve only come close to recreating once). I only eat chicken bought from one store, and even then, I can’t eat the free range stuff.

The problem with chicken is that it’s just too darned chickeny.

But, seasoned appropriately (garlic and ginger are mandatory), sometimes a girl just needs a little bit of chicken; and home-fried chicken is just the thing to satisfy that craving. Hey – I guess I am black after all!

So, friends, what I’m about to share with you will change your lives forever. Never again will you be held hostage by the greasy of-suspicious-origin fried “chicken” from fast food outlets! Let’s do this.

First, you need to marinate the chicken overnight. Select a couple of your favourite spices. I usually use the best curry powder in the world, Simba Mbili curry powder (sorry for you if you don’t have regular visits to Kenya to stock up) and tandoori masala. Naturally you also need salt, crushed garlic, and ginger (preferably fresh, dried will do.)

I like to alternate layers – chicken, crushed garlic, ginger, sprinkling of curry powder, chicken, crushed garlic, ginger, sprinkling of tandoori masala – continue till all chicken used:

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As you can see I use skinless chicken. Next, pour over enough buttermilk to cover the lot. (If you forget to buy buttermilk, make your own):

IMG_0591Looks gross but I assure you, it’s the best. thing. ever.

So the next day, once the chicken has marinated overnight (do fast-forwardy thing like on TV cooking shows), get ready to fry the stuff up. First, put some sunflower oil and a few spoonfuls of duck fat into a pan to heat up. (I also added a few drops of sesame oil for flavour, and cooked it all up in my beloved wok):

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While that’s heating up, prepare your chicken coating. I’m quite useless at remembering what I put into my meals so I took a photo that cleverly incorporated all the ingredients to remind me:

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So that’s cake flour, semolina flour (for a lovely crisp crust), turmeric, Royco mchuzi mix (again, just get on a plane to Kenya), freshly-ground black pepper, dhania jeera, mixed spice, whole coriander seeds, cumin and salt. Salt, people, salt. This is critical. Add salt to the mix, and when you think you’ve added enough, add more. And more again. This sounds crazy but I’m one of those people who doesn’t even like salt and never adds salt to my plate, but in this recipe loads of salt is essential.

Now for the messy part – fish the chicken pieces out of the buttermilk mix and dredge it in the flour mix:

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Pop it in the fat and let it cook away happily:

IMG_0594Bubbly bubbly happy fry.

You’ll need to turn them over once while cooking, then you can put them on a wad of kitchen paper to drain:

IMG_0595

When all the extra grease has been mopped up (just because you’re eating fried chicken that’s no excuse to walk around with greasy lips and chin) pop the pieces in to a pre-heated oven to cook through and keep warm. Now, you have to be smart about this: you don’t want to serve some uncooked and some overcooked chicken pieces. Start with the pieces that take longer to cook like the thighs; they definitely won’t cook through in the oil so they’ll need a bit more time in the oven. Next the drumsticks, then the breasts and wings which will dry up if you keep them in the oven too long.

And when al the pieces have had their turn in the hot fat, pile them into an impressive-looking heap and it’s nom nom nom time:

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Enjoy! 🙂

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