When I lived in the tiny island nation of Bahrain, innocuously situated right at the center of the Middle East, there was nothing I loved more than ending the occasional tough day by stopping by a local KFC and indulging in a small portion of their crispy fried chicken. To me, there was nothing more comforting than a crunchy bite of fried chicken.
And then, I moved across an ocean to the United States, where I began to tread more carefully, needing to be more mindful of what was halal, and what wasn’t. For the first couple of years, on nights out, I was happy to stick to what was either vegetarian or halal on menus aplenty. At home, I was happy to emulate my favorite dishes with the halal meat bought from my local halal market (thanks Sahara Market, you’re the real OG). Yet somehow, over time I found that it just wasn’t the same for me. Now, whether this comes down to my woefully average culinary skills, or some other factor is totally irrelevant. I soon began to crave my comfort food, unable to find a replacement that felt as authentic. Perhaps I needed to discover another type of comfort food? I resigned myself to the idea that I might never truly get to enjoy an entirely satisfactory bite of fried chicken again.
That is, until, my husband found himself navigating the endless black hole known as the internet on a sleepless night, and coming across what quickly became a family favorite in our household.
So this recipe I’m about to share is adapted from one originally shared by the culinary marvel, “Huma in the Kitchen.” Huma’s recipe is narrated in her native tongue of Urdu, so lucky you, we have offered up the recipe in writing, with some of our own adjustments, right here. Feel free to check her video out if you need some visual aids though!
I know, I know. You’re wondering what could possibly be so special about a fried chicken recipe, but trust me, this needs to be tasted to be believed.
We have tinkered with the ingredients, made it for friends and family, and turned this culinary indulgence into an occasional Sunday evening tradition with our standard episode of “Big Little Lies.” Through it all, this recipe has remained popular and beloved by people of all ages. And best of all, the tips and tricks shared by the original recipe ensure that the fried chicken truly does turn out to be as crispy as a dream!
So, my lovelies, without further ado, here is my favorite fried chicken recipe. Tried and tested, indulged and loved, you’re sure to enjoy this culinary delight. You can take my word for it. After all, even if I’m not the best cook around, these taste buds don’t lie!
This recipe will make enough to serve three (or two very, very, very hungry people).
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- 10 pieces of chicken
Chef’s Tip: You can use whichever pieces you prefer. We like to use chicken legs and chicken thighs, but this recipe works really well with tenders too.
For the marinade:
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (Chef’s Tip: You can use vinegar too, if that’s what you have handy)
For the coating:
- 2 cups of flour (Chef’s Tip: We like to use non-bleached all-purpose flour, but any type of flour should be fine)
- 1/2 cup corn flour or corn starch
- 3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp white pepper powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
Tools of the Trade:
- A sieve
- A pan/pot to fry in
- 2 big bowls (one to make the dry mix in and one to marinate the chicken in)
- 1 medium bowl for the chicken ice bath (this will make sense later, I promise)
- About half a cup of ice and water for the ice bath
- 1 bottle of peanut oil to fry the chicken (Chef’s Tip: You can use any oil, but we have found peanut oil works the best, followed by canola oil and grapeseed oil)
- A serving dish
Let’s Get Started:
- The first step of the process is to make the marinade that the chicken will marinate in. To do this, whisk together milk, eggs, salt, red chili powder, white pepper powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, and lemon juice.
- Make sure that everything is mixed together well, and then add the chicken to this mix, ensuring that each piece is thoroughly coated.
- Although the original recipe calls for overnight marination or a minimum of 8 hours, we found that even marinating the chicken pieces for anywhere between 2 to 5 hours works pretty well when you cover it and refrigerate.
- The next step is to make the dry mix that will become the delicious, impossibly crunchy coating on your chicken. To make the dry mix, whisk together flour, corn flour or corn starch, salt, red chili powder, white pepper powder, and garlic powder.
- Then, take a sieve and run your dry mix through it twice. Yes, twice. This will guarantee that the ingredients that make up your coating have been thoroughly combined, and give your mix the right texture for ASMR-worthy fried chicken.
- Take the chicken that has been marinating and toss one piece at a time in the separate bowl filled with your coating mix, being really careful to ensure that each piece is coated really well.
- In a pot, start heating up enough oil to make sure that at least one side of the chicken pieces you’re frying will be submerged in oil. Heat your oil of choice to medium-high.
- Get yourself a bowl of cold water and add half a cup of ice to it.
- Then, submerge each piece of coated chicken in the ice water bath for 10 to 12 seconds, followed by another toss in the dry coating mix. This double coating is another step designed to make sure that your chicken leaves that frying pan with a nice crispy exterior (see, I told you the ice bath thing would make sense later).
- When the oil is hot enough (you should be able to see a few bubbles here and there), add the double coated pieces of chicken to the vat, and fry them for 10 to 12 minutes in total (ensuring 5 to 6 minutes on each side), or until they are golden brown on the outside. Take note that if your chicken pieces were on the larger side, they may require a bit more frying to fully cook through.
- Once your chicken is fried, drain the excess oil on a paper towel. Then all that’s left is for you to serve and enjoy!
The chicken itself is so delectable, we’ve never felt the need for sauce. If you happen to disagree, then have at it with a condiment of your choosing.
How to Treat Your Leftovers Right
So, you had a weird day, appetite-wise, and have some fried chicken left over from the day before. How can you make sure that the coating is crispy enough for round two? What “All Recipes” recommends is that you allow the chicken to come down to room temperature and then heat it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skip the bringing-to-room-temperature part if you’re in a rush, but that step is supposed to help the chicken reheat more evenly.