The addition of coconut milk to the buttermilk marinade helps tenderize and moisturize the chicken. That, and the bold choice of spices, gives this fried chicken a Caribbean flair. It’s an interesting and fabulous twist on Southern fried chicken. Be prepared for recipe requests, but I won’t blame you if you keep it a secret to savor the glory!
The Author Says: “My favorite saying to rattle off to my longtime friend Reginald Dye is, ‘You ain’t no spring chicken.’ Reggie loves my fried chicken wings, and any hole-in-the-wall or white tablecloth with flavorful fowl. I live and die by seasoning the bird and batter. Fry up the entire chicken or just your favorite pieces.” –Nicole Taylor
Fried Chicken Recipe
1 (3 to 4 pounds) fryer chicken, cut up
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided use
2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups coconut milk, unsweetened, or 1 (13-1/2-ounce) container
1/2 cup buttermilk (see Notes)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 cups peanut oil or lard
Fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Rinse the chicken and rub it with half a lemon (I do this to sanitize chicken). Pat dry, season with 2 Tablespoons of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the pepper, and cinnamon. Place the chicken in a large bowl, cover it, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a separate large bowl, combine the coconut milk, buttermilk, and chicken. Cover the chicken and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
In a shallow dish combine flour, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder. Dredge the chicken in the dry mix.
Add oil to a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on high heat. Let the oil reach 350°F, using an instant-read thermometer.
Work in batches. Temperature should hover around 350°F. Cook wings for about 15 minutes (turn at each 5-minute mark). Breast, thighs, and legs cook in about 25 minutes (turn at each 5-minute mark). Chicken should look like it’s almost floating.
Transfer to jelly roll pan with cooling rack on top. This keeps the skin crispy. For easy cleaning, line with pieces of brown paper bags or paper towels.
Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
• Buttermilk Substitute: 1/2 cup buttermilk = 1/2 cup milk PLUS 1/2 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice (let stand for 10 minutes before using in recipe).
Recipe Source: “The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen” by Nicole A. Taylor (Countryman Press)
Reprinted with express permission.