Finger Lickin’ Fried Chicken

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By Jessie Lehail
Jessie LehailFried chicken has always been a treat and while this recipe has multiple steps, nothing is complicated. It’s a bunch of soaking, dredging with seasoned flour, and then frying. Really super easy.

For the Brine
¾ cup salt
½ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
5 garlic cloves
2 inch piece of ginger
4 red chilies
5 cloves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
5 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
2½ to 3 pounds chicken drumsticks
Directions
Bring the salt, sugar, spices, aromatics and 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot, stirring occasionally, until the salt and sugar dissolve, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely before adding 12 cups of cold water. Add the chicken to the brine and place in the refrigerator overnight.

fried-chickenButtermilk Marinade
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns, toasted
2 teaspoons coriander seed, coarsely ground
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 tablespoon cayenne powder
1½ tablespoons sugar
Directions
The next day, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Place the spice mixture and sugar in a large bowl with the buttermilk. Add the chicken and toss in the marinade. Cover and refrigerator for 2 hours.
Spiced Flour Dredge
3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cayenne powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
Directions
To fry the chicken, pour enough canola oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot until it reaches a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. While the oil is heating, place the flour mixture in a large bowl. Toss the chicken pieces in the flour until every piece is evenly coated. Allow the chicken to
absorb the flour, about 10 minutes. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour again. Fry the chicken in batches until crisp, golden brown and the meat has cooked through. Usually this takes from 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack. Season with Himalayan salt, wait 10 minutes and then serve with the Tamarind Chili Sauce.
Tamarind Chili Sauce
¼ quarter onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 chili peppers, finely minced
1/3 cup tamarind concentrate
4 tablespoons jaggery
¼ to ½ cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Directions
In a sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil and sauté the shallots and garlic for 2 minutes until translucent. Add in the chili peppers and cook for an additional minute. Add the tamarind concentrate, jaggery, and water. Continue cooking over medium-low heat while stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Lower the heat and gently simmer until the sauce has thickened. Adjust sauce thickness by adding more water.

Jessie Lehail is the author of Indian Influence, a food blog that takes global eats and reinterprets them with a South Asian influence. Visit her blog at www.indianinfluence.ca.