RECIPE | 'Tastes like your favourite takeaway' fried chicken, two ways

Homemade fried chicken is always a winner — and if deep frying is not your thing, there’s an oven-baked version too

05 April 2020 - 00:00 By
Crispy fried chicken.
Crispy fried chicken.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

BEFORE YOU START

  • The best part of the chicken is the flavour of the crispy coating. It's so good you will be making the chicken again. So to save time and hassle, double or treble the spice mix, store in a glass container with a lid and have it conveniently on hand.
  • If sourcing the ingredients for the spice blend is too difficult and means leaving the house, use a readymade chicken spice blend. 
  • Finding chicken portions in store has been problematic, but whole fresh chicken appears to be more readily available, so cut a chicken into eight portions. Start by removing the legs by cutting into the joint between leg and thigh and remove thighs. Cut off the wings, cutting into the breast to make a more generous portion. Using a sharp knife remove the breasts by cutting into each side of the breast bone. If the breasts are large, cut into two portions.
  • Don't waste the carcass. Place it in a large pot, cover with cold water, add a peeled onion, carrot, some celery slices, a bay leaf, couple of peppercorns and boil for 30 - 45 minutes. Strain and use as a base for a wholesome chicken soup or a stock which can be frozen.

CRISPY FRIED CHICKEN

Makes: 8 portions

Ingredients:

1 chicken, portioned or 8 chicken pieces

30ml (2 tbsp) salt

Spice mix:

15ml (1 tbsp) smoked or plain paprika

15ml (1 tbsp) ground black pepper

15ml (1 tbsp) ground white pepper

15ml (1 tbsp) garlic powder

15ml (1 tbsp) ground ginger

15ml (1 tbsp) celery salt

15ml (1 tbsp) mustard powder

15ml (1 tbsp) mixed herbs

Other ingredients:

500ml (2 cups) flour

30ml (2 tbsp) cornflour

250ml (1 cup) plain amasi or buttermilk

2 large egg whites, lightly whisked

Oil for deep frying

Method:

  1. Lay out the chicken pieces on greaseproof paper in a baking tray that will fit in the fridge. Brine the chicken by sprinkling the pieces with half the salt, cover and store in fridge overnight or do 30 minutes before making up the recipe. This will make the chicken juicy and tender.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the spice mix. Sprinkle half the spice mix over the chicken pieces and rub into the flesh and set aside.
  3. Set up a dredging station by combining the flour, remaining salt and spice mix in a dish and mix through.
  4. In another dish — I used a 1-litre rectangular glass Pyrex-style dish — combine the cornflour, amasi and egg whites. Whisk together lightly.
  5. Pour the oil into a large pan or deep fryer if you have one. This can also be cooked in the air fryer following the directions of your fryer;  depending on size of fryer you may need to cook half the portions at a time.
  6. Coating the chicken is messy work and best done with two forks coating one piece at a time. First dip it into the amasi/buttermilk mixture and ensure it's coated completely. Then dip into the flour mix to coat completely. If you feel it is not coated well repeat the process. Then set aside on a clean piece of greased or sprayed baking tray and continue with all the chicken portions. With two pieces to go, preheat the oil.
  7. When the oil is piping hot, check by dropping a piece of bread into the oil and if it browns in 30 seconds it's ready.
  8. Carefully drop in 3-4 pieces of chicken, depending on the size of your pan/fryer, and fry till golden brown on one side and turn and fry on the other side. It's not a quick in and out in the oil as the chicken must cook through. The legs and thighs will take longer to cook than the breasts and wings.
  9. When ready, remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to soak oil before serving. Delicious with a coleslaw or potato salad.
Crispy Cornflake-crusted baked chicken.
Crispy Cornflake-crusted baked chicken.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

CRISPY CORNFLAKE-CRUSTED BAKED CHICKEN

This chicken tastes like deep-fried without the oil. It can easily be done in an air fryer too. Depending on the size and make of the fryer, you may need to cook four portions of chicken at a time.

Makes: 8 portions

Ingredients:

1 chicken, portioned, or 8 chicken pieces

30ml (2 tbsp) salt

Spice mix:

15ml (1 tbsp) smoked or plain paprika

15ml (1 tbsp) ground black pepper

15ml (1 tbsp) ground white pepper

15ml (1 tbsp) garlic powder

15ml (1 tbsp) ground ginger

15ml (1 tbsp) celery salt

15ml (1 tbsp) mustard powder

15ml (1 tbsp) mixed herbs

Other ingredients:

30ml (2 tbsp) cornflour

250ml (1 cup) plain amasi or buttermilk

2 large egg whites, lightly whisked

5 cups cornflakes

Method:

  1. Lay out the chicken pieces on greaseproof paper in a baking tray that will fit in the fridge. Brine the chicken by sprinkling the pieces with half salt, cover and store in fridge overnight or do 30 minutes before making up the recipe. This will make the chicken juicy and tender.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the spice mix. Sprinkle half of it over the chicken pieces and rub into the flesh and set aside.
  3. Set up a dredging station. In a dish — I used a 1-litre rectangular glass Pyrex-style dish — combine the cornflour, amasi and egg whites. Whisk together lightly.
  4. Place the cornflakes in a food processor or blender to process until you have crumbs, not too fine so you still have some texture. Combine the cornflake mixture with the remaining salt and spice blend in another dish.
  5. Coating the chicken pieces is messy work and best done with two forks coating one piece of chicken at a time. First dip it into the amasi/buttermilk mixture and ensure it's coated completely, then into the crumb mixture. If you feel it is not coated well, repeat the process. Then set aside on a greased or sprayed baking tray and continue with all the chicken portions.
  6. Ideally, if you have time, chill the coated chicken in the fridge for 20 minutes, which helps the crumbs stick to the chicken before baking.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180° C.
  8. Remove the chicken from the fridge and bake for 45 - 50 minutes till golden brown and cooked through. It's better not to turn the chicken as some of the coating falls off. Delicious with a coleslaw or potato salad.