I don’t know why, but when I’m sick, or recovering from illness, I always crave fried chicken. I’ll grant you that it is an odd craving. I suspect it has something to do with my body craving comfort and protein. The hubby often craves burgers or greasy pizza. I’m curious, do you crave something unexpected after you have been ill?
For me fried chicken should be crunchy, juicy, perfectly spiced and not too greasy. You need excellent quality chicken, preferably organic or free-range hormone-free thighs or wings. I never buy chicken breast, it just doesn’t have the flavor or texture I desire, and it invariably dries out and becomes stringy.
Flavor and crunch are key; the trick is to steam the chicken before frying. This reduces absorption of excess oil and ensures your chicken is always cooked through perfectly.
I always have a jar of my Szechuan Chili Salt Mix on hand to whip up fried chicken in a hurry. I occasionally add in fresh ground cumin, coriander and/or smoked paprika for a variation on flavors. And the tapioca starch means it’s gluten and wheat free. Win-win! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Crispy Fried Chicken- Serves 2-4 people
- 500g - 1kg of chicken thighs or wings
- Amie’s Szechuan Chili Salt Mix
- Cold pressed organic vegetable or nut oil, or ghee for frying
Amie’s Szechuan Chili Salt Mix
- 6 teaspoons whole Szechuan pepper
- 3 1/2 teaspoons rock sea salt
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 3/4 cups of tapioca starch (cornflour or potato starch)
- Optional - 1/2 teaspoon of coriander seed
- Optional - 1/4 teaspoon of cumin seed
- Optional - 1/2 teaspoon of ground smoked paprika
MethodFor the Szechuan Chili Salt Mix:
- Dry roast the Szechuan pepper (optional coriander and cumin) and salt until the pepper starts to pop.
- Remove from heat and grind with either a pestle and mortar, or in a spice grinder.
- In a bowl combine all ingredients (including paprika) mix well to combine and store in an air-tight jar.
For the Chicken:
- Steam your chicken for 5-10 minutes depending on your quantity. You don’t want to cook your chicken completely, but it should be sealed. It will look grey and unappetizing; but don’t worry, it’s going to look damn sexy soon!
- Place your steamed chicken on paper towels and mop up all the excess moisture. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle your Szechuan Chili Salt Mix - just enough to cover your chicken evenly.
- Heat your oil in a wok or deep skillet to high (I use an electric wok on level 11). You can either shallow fry or deep fry your chicken. It’s best to fry in batches of 2 or 3 pieces at a time to keep the oil at a constant temperature. The frying time should only take about 1-2 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Place your cooked chicken onto paper towels to drain off your excess oil.
- You can, at this stage, coat your chicken with a little more Szechuan Chili Salt Mix and fry again for another 30 seconds. I love this twice-fried method for a thick crunchy texture, it’s perfect for chicken wings!