Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fried Chicken

There’s something comforting about a plate piled high with fried chicken, a side of slaw, potatoes and gravy, and a few pickles. It’s not the healthiest dinner in the world, but cooked correctly the chicken should be anything but greasy.

This is a pretty good base recipe, if you want to kick the heat up a notch or ten add cayenne to the brine, and up the percentage to three in the dredge, don’t go overboard in the dredge though as the higher percentage spice likely burn when fried.

I’ve used wheat starch as it’s gives a crispier coating that keep crunch for longer than plain flour, but there’s no reason you can’t use flour if you don’t have any at hand. Potato starch could be substituted also. Wheat and potato starch can readily be found at any asian market in Wellington.

Chicken portions
Oil for frying, canola or rice bran

4% Salt
6% Hot Sauce

Wheat starch
1% Salt
1% Cayenne

Mix together the brine ingredients and pour into a ziplock bag, place in the chicken portions and seal, removing as much air as possible. Place the bag in a bowl in the fridge overnight.

Half an hour before cooking remove the chicken from the bag, shake off any excess brine and arrange on a rack, allowing any excess brine to drip away.

In a heavy based pot, I use an enameled cast iron pot, pour in a couple inches of oil, enough to cover the chicken. Place the pot on a medium heat and monitor the temperature, you want it to get to 180-190°C and then maintain it at about 160°C when cooking.

Combine the dredge ingredients together in a bowl, mix thoroughly. Toss the chicken in the dredge, shake off any excess and place back on the rack.

Get a rack set up ready for the cooked chicken, if you’re doing a large batch you could put it in a warm oven, but if you’re only cooking up half a dozen pieces the bench will probably be fine.

Carefully lay a piece of chicken, away from you, into the hot oil, don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook for about 5-10 minutes for a drumstick, or until the internal temperature has hit about 65°C, it will rise while resting, if you’re a bit worried cook to 70°C. As the chicken cooks you’ll notice that the oil starts of vigorously bubbling and slowly subsides, this is the moisture in the chicken turning to steam and escaping, it’s also a good indicator that the chicken is getting near done when the bubbling starts to calm down.

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