There is no comfort food quite like fried chicken and there are so many tips and tricks that make this recipe truly great. Through our years of first hand experimentation in addition to countless hours of research we are proud to bring you this recipe which guarantees the most crispy and flavorful chicken you will find anywhere… rivaling that of any of the most well known brands out there and customized to your individual taste, to boot!
Before we talk spices and seasonings though, the first and most important thing about this recipe is temperature. Deep fried foods will only come out crispy if you maintain your temperature around 350 degrees F. If you let the temperature drop, you will allow time for the oil to infiltrate the batter and keep it oily, and that makes for a soggy crust. If there is one rule you need to follow it is this. You can dredge your chicken in flour, egg, and then (salted) flour only and if you keep the temperature between 350 and 375 you’ll still get good results. So have a method to maintain accurate temperature control first. We use an infrared thermometer and fry in small batches to keep the initial temperature drop of the oil to a minimum.
Secondly, gluten is the enemy of crispy fried chicken. When you make a tempura batter, many recipes involve using a flour mixture and either ice cold water or ice cold soda water, and using the mixed up batter quickly. It’s because cold water inhibits gluten formation more than warm water and it’s the gluten protein matrix that holds on to oil. Keeping in mind the advice about keeping temperature high and consistent above, good tempura chefs use a batch of batter for each order/dish because the longer it sits after liquid is added, the more gluten is formed, and the less crispy the finished tempura becomes. Ice cold water is usually the first choice for mixing up wet batters for frying, but if you want even better results you can use ice cold vodka. Vodka is 40% alcohol, and gluten can’t form in alcohol at all. Using vodka will afford you even more time to fry up batches of good tempura, but if you live in a place where vodka is expensive like here in Canada, ice cold water may be a better alternative but let’s get back on track here… If you want to keep a wet batter from holding on to excessive oil then make sure to use ice cold water.
The third most important thing is the batter/dredge composition. Now that you know that gluten is the enemy of good crispy crust formation it comes in handy to know that it is only standard flour that can develop gluten at all. Korean and Chinese chefs use corn starch almost exclusively for frying… not that it would matter so much though as wok temperatures can easily go far beyond 350 degrees F but i digress… Corn flour and corn starch are culinary weapons in the quest for crispy fried chicken but we get some great results for this recipe with a 50% mix of corn flour and corn starch and 50% flour.. and now for a secret ingredient that you won’t see us using in the videos below 😉 if you want extra crispy and I mean almost hurt your gums kind of crispy, add 1 T of dried mashed potato flakes for each cup of seasoned flour mix/dredge. Seriously. You won’t taste the potato and everyone will wonder where you developed your mad frying skills.
Now that you’re up to speed on some frying techniques that can be applied to just about any foods (like calamari for instance) here comes the fun part. It’s time for the seasonings and this is where your preferences come into play! You can use any spices you want at all for fried chicken, whether it be the colonel’s 12 herbs and spices like KFC original recipe (White pepper, black pepper, sage, coriander, ginger, ancho chile, vanilla, bay leaf, savory, cloves, and cardamom) our mix (savory, powdered dried chives, black pepper, oregano, paprika, kashmiri chile pepper, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, ginger powder, thyme, ajinomoto) or your own mix of favorites, when you follow the tips above and cook your seasoned flour mixture to a golden brown color it’s almost guaranteed to be delicious! In any case though you will want to make sure you heavily season your dredge/flour mixture as very little of it will actually end up sticking your chicken…. And don’t forget the salt! Salt is the most important part of the recipe even if it’s not listed as an ingredient… after all that’s what ‘seasoning’ really means, right? Salt makes food taste more like itself and without it, food is bland.
And the last ingredient? Baking powder. Use 1/2 tsp of baking powder for each seasoned cup of flour. Using too little will result in a batter that’s lays too flat on the chicken and too much will cause it to ‘explode’ outwards leaving pieces behind in your oil.
We served this chicken with our homemade potato salad…. Enjoy the photos and videos below!