Fried Chicken with Mediterranean Spices

Fried Chicken

So Plump, Tender, and Juicy

full of

flavor and crispy,

From Legs, Breast, Thighs, and Wings

a bird worthy of feeding a king

As the last piece comes to an End

don’t worry Chicken, we will meet Again!

Rashaan Patterson

I live in a modest two bedroom apartment in Atlanta. The kitchen is typical in size and furnishing; small with a preinstalled dishwasher, electric stove and refrigerator. I have a thing against electric stoves, it irks me when I can’t jiggle the handles of my frying pan or swirl sauce as it reduces. I’ve learnt to adapt to my constraints and have produced many a fine meal with a bare minimum of equipment. It helps that I live close to Atlanta’s best farmers market, which allows access to the widest and freshest array of produce, seafood and meat under one roof.

Recently, I found a restaurant supply store on Pleasantdale road that sells professional kitchen equipment at very reasonable prices. I’ve started buying all my small equipment from this store it’s a lot cheaper and does the job just as well as more expensive gadgets from Williams Sonoma and the Cooks Warehouse. Bit by bit, a balloon whisk recently purchased, a baking tray, a stainless steel mixing bowl, a 2 qt. sauteuse, a matching pair of plastic lexans; my plain, simple, rudimentary cooking space is attaining the comfortable patina of a well-used kitchen.

Yesterday, I bought a whole chicken and fresh thyme and rosemary from the farmers market.  The plan was to roast the chicken for dinner along with sautéed corn, broccoli and carrots. Instead of traditional Jamaican “rice and peas,” I decided to substitute rice for barley. Maybe changing one thing triggered the desire to change another and I decide to fry the chicken instead of roasting it. In the South, buttermilk fried chicken is the standard, but I opted for a more flavorful version using cumin, coriander and turmeric as a part of the spice rub. These spices which are main ingredients in Curry feature prominently in the cuisines of the Middle East and India. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal and want to share this recipe so you can enjoy it too.

Fried Chicken with Mediterranean Spices

1 whole chicken (cut the chicken into 10 pieces – 2 legs, 2 thighs, cut the breasts in two, 2 wings)

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoons turmeric

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

6 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs (beaten)

Canola oil for frying

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, mix all of the dry spices. Add chicken and toss until well coated. Let the mixture stand at room temp (if cooking within 4 hours) or refrigerated in a large bowl for one hour.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour with salt and pepper to season well. One-by-one, add the chicken pieces, making sure they are thoroughly coated with flour on all sides.
  3. Shake off excess flour and immerse each piece of chicken in the egg wash.
  4. Dredge with flour a second time making sure the pieces are thoroughly coated.
  5. Fill a large pot four inches deep with oil and heat to 325 degrees.
  6. Grab each piece of chicken and slap it back and forth between your hands a few times to knock off the excess flour before slipping it into the oil.
  7.  It is important not to overcrowd the pot. The temperature will drop as the pieces go into the oil, resulting in soggy greasy chicken that steam instead of crispy fried. If your pot is not big enough fry the chicken in two or three batches, the results will be worth it.
  8. Also do not over compensate by turning the heat to high, you want the heat a little over medium the entire time.  Too high and the crust burns while the inside remains undercooked. I like to cover my frying pot with the pieces inside and let them be.
  9. Check every 5-7 minutes for each side and turn them when necessary.
  10. Average cooking time 15- 20 minutes until golden brown and at least 160 degrees at the bone. The juices from the meat should run clear when pierced with a fork.

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