Photo courtesy Ditte Isager, "Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet," Hatchette

Recipe of the Day: Fried Chicken

What's more American than fried chicken?!
Photo courtesy Ditte Isager, "Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet," Hatchette

Fourth of July is upon us. Fireworks, days spent at a beach or park, American flags and good food are all markers that the holiday is near. But don't start counting how many burgers, buns and hot dogs you need just yet. Get real American this year with an all time picnic classic: fried chicken.

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It might seem like a laborious process, especially for a celebration that typically involves grilling hot dogs and putting chips into bowls, but this recipe is a cinch and serves six. So if your Fourth of July plans are with a small cluster of family and friends, this recipe is ideal. Not to mention, it's the perfect entree to serve alongside potato salad, coleslaw and more no-cook side dishes perfect for barbecues

The key to cooking perfect fried chicken is the batter — flaky, crunchy bites of golden brown crust is goals. Finding a balance between a crispy outside and juicy, moist center is what makes nailing fried chicken hard. The key to getting the batter just right is having a solid spice mix. This recipe uses dried mango powder and cayenne pepper, which adds a welcome kick with a hint of sweetness. The spices are mixed with flour, crushed saltines and Rice Krispies; a combo that gives KFC a run for its money.   

This recipe recommends using a whole chicken cut up, but 10 to 12 pre-purchased chicken pieces also work if you don't feel like breaking down a whole bird. Once the chicken is dredged in the flour mixture, line the pieces on a baking sheet and let them sit for about 30 minutes before frying. This will ensure that the batter doesn't flake off when you fry it. After the 30 minutes is up, fry the chicken for about 6 to 9 minutes on each side. 

Once fried, let the pieces drain on a paper towel. Serve with a smattering of dipping sauces, like Texas barbecue sauce and hot sauce. Keep the Independence Day prep going, but be sure to share some of the workload with the best Fourth of July recipes to make with your kids

Krispy Fried Chicken

Excerpted from "Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet: A World of Recipes by Every Day" by Padma Lakshmi. Copyright © 2021. Available from Hatchette Go, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces (breasts quartered)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Rice Krispies, or other puffed rice cereal, smashed coarsely
  • 12 saltine crackers , crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchoor) or sumac
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups canola or peanut oil
  • 2 eggs beaten in a shallow bowl

Directions

Step 1: Mix the 2 ½ cups buttermilk and 4 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl. Add the cut-up chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours. Remove from fridge, drain the buttermilk, and allow the chicken to come up to room temperature, about 90 minutes.

Step 2: Combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup Rice Krispies, crushed saltines, remaining teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon mango powder and 1 teaspoon cayenne in a bowl.

Step 3: Dredge each chicken piece in the flour mixture and then in the beaten egg. Now dredge each piece in the flour mixture again, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with wax paper, taking care to leave room between each piece. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Meanwhile, in a deep, heavy pan, heat the oil on medium-low heat. Fry chicken in the oil, for 6 to 9 minutes on each side (6 minutes for wings and drumsticks, 7 to 9 minutes for thighs and breasts). Do not let the oil get too hot, as the crust can darken before the meat inside is cooked thoroughly. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F. Don't crowd the pan; cook just enough pieces at a time so that each piece is bathed in oil. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot, with lots of napkins on standby!

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