Marcus Samuelsson's Key Ingredient For Fried Chicken Is Coming Up Coconuts

Fried chicken has long been a go-to comfort dish amongst food lovers — when cooked just right, it hits the spot. Its crispy shell balances out perfectly with its soft and flavorful interior. It's quite versatile, as it can be prepared spicy, smoky, or mild. It also appeals to many cultures, as there are various ways to make it. Southern fried chicken is covered in flour and fried in oil. Nashville hot chicken is coated in cayenne pepper paste, while Guatemalan fried chicken is soaked in citrus juices and spices. When it comes to making fried chicken, the options are endless.

Some people enjoy classic fried chicken, while others prefer to experiment with recipes. From potato-chip chicken to quinoa-crusted chicken, there are plenty of ways to get creative in the kitchen. But, there's another unique technique for cooking fried chicken — chef-restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson folds in a special ingredient, and the results are delectable.

Coconut milk and coconut flakes are used

While buttermilk is commonly used to make fried chicken, there's another ingredient you can use to shake things up. It may sound unconventional, but coconut milk is a tasty alternative for cooking up this mouth-watering comfort food. In March 2023, Marcus Samuelsson shared a recipe for coconut fried chicken with sweet hot sauce and platanos with Today

This iteration includes coconut flakes and coconut milk — the latter of which is mixed with mole verde, which also adds a unique flair. More coconut milk is added throughout the cooking of the chicken, and the remainder of the sauce is used for dipping. During an appearance on "Today Food," Samuelsson gave detailed instructions on cooking this flavorful dish where he noted, "We actually have coconut flakes. That's what makes it so crunchy."

The chef also showed foodies how to make his signature coconut fried chicken with sweet hot sauce on the "Rachael Ray Show." He explained how other ingredients are combined to create a delicious result. When it's all finished, Samuelsson remarks, "And I'm just gonna squeeze a little bit of lime juice on top of it, and I have some of that beautiful honey." The sauce gives it a sweet touch!

Here's another way to cook coconut fried chicken

Marcus Samuelsson isn't the only chef with a love for coconut fried chicken, as Food Network also has a recipe for the special indulgence. This coconut fried chicken is based off of the acclaimed dish at Cha Cha Chicken in Santa Monica, California. While it focuses on coconut milk, there are some subtle differences between these ingredients and Samuelsson's recipe. For example, shredded coconut is used instead of coconut flakes. The difference between the two? Flakes are the larger form of the two ingredients.

In a video for BuzzFeed, the hosts test out the coconut fried chicken at Cha Cha Chicken. Ricardo, the restaurant's co-owner-slash-chef, describes the eclectic background of their famous dish, saying, "We took a little Cuban, a little Jamaican, a little Puerto Rican, a little Mexican, we kinda just mix it all up, like Bob Marley said 'One Love,' you know?'" He also elaborates on the cooking process, explaining that the chicken is marinated in spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and jerk spice for one day. Then, it's oven-roasted before being braised in sauce. Coconut shavings are added to the milk, as well. Host Keith Habersberger sums up the dish, saying, "The outside just has this tiny bit of sweetness, and inside, it's crazy flavorful."