I have never been happy with my fried chicken. I can never seem to get chicken that was crispy like a shattering biscuit but had meat that was moist and supple but yet cooked through completely.
There were always issues of raw reddish meat near the bone or meat that was tough and dry because of the extra time in the hot oil.
I was recently at the famous Soi Polo Fried Chicken in Bangkok and faced this same dilemma of the skin being amazing but with dry tough meat.
This time I thought I would try brining and double frying to see if I could produce chicken heaven.
Brining the chicken
Step 1 Add enough water in half a medium pot and the following:
1. 4 tablespoons of salt
2. 4 tablesspoons of sugar
3. 2 bay leaves
4. 1 tablespoon of peppercorn
Step 2. Bring your brining mixture to a boil and stir to allow the salt and sugar to dissolve. Then let it cool completely. Do not try to submerge raw chicken into hot or warm liquid.
Step 3. I used 8 chicken thighs cut into 2 which has been thoroughly washed with salt to remove all impurities. Once the brine solution is completely cooled, insert the chicken thighs and place it in the fridge for 6-8 hours or even overnight.
Step 4. When ready to cook, drain the water completely and pat dry the chicken. There is no need to rinse.
Coating the Chicken
1. Mix 4 cups of all purpose floor with 2 spoons of paprika , some pepper and 1 spoon of garlic powder if available. No salt is necessary because of the salt in the brining liquid.
2. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture and shake off excess flour.
Other than brining, the “secret” to crispier fried chicken is to fry the chicken not just once, but twice.
There are a couple of possible reasons why double frying makes the chicken moist but crispy. One reason is that the initial fry reduces the water in the food. It also changes the microscopic architecture of your food. During frying, oil pushes into the food through air pockets that are, in the beginning, warped and twisted channels.
As the cooking progresses, “those pathways are becoming simpler, merging with each other,” explains Pawan Takhar, a food engineer at the University of Illinois, who studied the dynamics of frying potatoes.
On that second fry, these straightened, simple pathways make it easier for water to escape, giving you a drier, crisper fry.
I first fried the chicken in oil that is heated up but not to smoking. Fry about 4-5 minutes on each side (total 8-10 minutes).
I turned up the fire to maximum heat when putting in the chicken but then reduced the fire to medium heat. I would turn up the fire to maximum again when flipping the chicken and leave it at maximum for about 15 seconds, then turn the fire down to medium again
The chicken was put on a plate lined with paper napkins and set aside.
Just before dinner started, I coated the chicken with the left over flour again, shook off the excess flour and fried the chicken over high heat in oil that was smoking. 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Keep the fire on maximum throughout.
The end result ? I was amazed.
I took a bite and was thrilled by the crisp. The chicken was cooked right through without any pinkness even near to the bone. I attribute this to the medium heat frying for 10 minutes which allows for the chicken to cook properly without any worry of the chicken burning over high heat.
I think the second frying over high heat allowed the chicken to properly crisp up. The brining also obviously did wonders to reduce the water content of the chicken so that proper crisping was possible.
The chicken was ultra soft and moist despite being properly and completely cooked through, and with a skin that was shattering and crispy.
It was truly the best fried chicken I have ever made.
Baked Spaghetti Bolognese
And what would go with good fried chicken ? Home made spaghetti bolognese made with fresh cherry tomatoes, canned peeled plum tomatoes, fresh thyme and Italian parsley, aubergine, swiss browns, fresh beef and red wine.
Then lots of grated cheese and oven baked to a goey goodness.
Oh and a refreshing cucumber raita.