fried chicken party
When the sun is still high (though memories of holidays have all but disappeared), a girl has two options.
a) wallow in misery at the amount of time left before she’s next able to jet off to sunny shores; or
b) say a big old “whatever!” to the year as it quickly ramps up, and pretend that the holidays remain upon us.
I did this, in mid-January, on a day I was feeling particularly glum about being back at work. A mid-week dinner party featuring fried chicken seemed just the ticket for chasing the end-of-Summer blues away, and that is exactly what we did.
A big red pot of macaroni cheese to fill our bellies.
Grilled corn with miso butter, chilli, seaweed flakes and sesame seeds.
Chunks of sweet potato, cooked until crisp on the outside.
Oh, and three types of chicken.
(It couldn’t really be a Summer Chicken Party without it).
We had two whole chickens coated in jerk marinade overnight, butterflied and cooked over a hot grill with the hood down.
A kilo and a bit of honey & soy chicken wings for picking at while we wait for everyone to settle in with their drinks.
Oh, and a good couple of kilos of my fried chicken drumstick fillets (with three or four breast tenderloins thrown in the mix for our one white-meat-only friend. Hi Liz!)
I fried it in small batches, using our tiny deep fryer that spends most of its life gathering dust on our balcony.
It’s a time consuming process. dealing with seven minute batches and a timer that I kept forgetting to start, but company helps. Moreso if they pop around with a bottle of prosecco and some ridiculous news to laugh over in between batches. Especially if they accompany said bottle of prosecco with a little tin of caviar that they procured on sale.
At a touch before seven, the buzzer starts buzzing, the mosquito coils are wafting coils of smoke into the humid night and we lounge. Shoes kicked off, ice clinking in glasses.
The food is ready, sitting in the oven staying warm, and the sun shines in our eyes as it sets off to the west
We fed ten (!) people on our tiny balcony that night and had just two pieces of fried chicken, a bowl of salad and a handful of chicken wings remaining. Oh, and more than a couple of over-full bellies lying on our lounge room floor afterwards.
For a smaller crowd, half the amount will do just fine (and you can pre-mix your floury dunking mixture, pop it in a jar and save it for another time if the thought of doing all that halving is too tiresome).
We had fried chicken twice in a week after this night and have been thoroughly fried-chickened-out ever since… though I have to say, the one we had at home was my favourite of the lot.
- for the chicken:
- 2 kg chicken drumstick fillets
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp smoky paprika
- 2 tsp white pepper
- 2 tsp cooking salt
- ¼ C cornflour
- for the eggy dip:
- 4 eggs
- ½ C water
- ½ tsp tabasco sauce (or other chilli pepper sauce)
- for the floury dunk:
- 2 C self raising flour
- ½ C cornflour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp smoky paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- vegetable oil
- Start by marinating the chicken. Toss the drumstick fillets in a large bowl with the soy, fish sauce, sesame oil, garlic powder, smoky paprika, white pepper, salt and cornflour and massage it thoroughly with your hands so that the chicken is coated in the gloopy mix. Leave it in the fridge to soak up all that flavour for at least 1 hour.
- While the chicken is chilling out, grab two more bowls. Crack the eggs into one bowl and mix in the water and tabasco sauce, whisking lightly so that it is all combined.
- In the other bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, garlic powder, paprika and black pepper, whisking together so that it is a uniform colour.
- Heat the vegetable oil in your deep fryer to 180C and prepare to deep fry. Line a tray with greaseproof paper for the uncooked, coated chicken. Place a wire rack on top of another baking tray, with paper towelling underneath and pop that one in a warm oven - 50C or so should do it. We just want to keep that chicken hot.
- Taking one piece of chicken from the marinating bowl, dip it in the egg mixture and then into the flour mixture, making sure there's a thorough coating of each. Now pop it on the lined tray. Repeat until you have four or five dipped. (Try not to do too many at once as the flour starts to soak into the egg and marinade mix the longer it sits, and your chicken won't be as crisp.)
- Put the dipped and floured chicken into the deep fryer - only four or so at a time, depending on the size of your fryer. You don't want to overcrowd it as the temperature will drop and the batter will soak up too much oil. Fry for 6-7 minutes. The batter will be golden brown and crispy when it's done.
- Fish out the cooked pieces of chicken then pop them on the rack in the warm oven so that any excess oil can drip off and the chicken stays warm.
- Continue the dipping, flouring and frying with the remaining pieces until all of the chicken has been fried.