Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spicy Batter-Fried Chicken p. 666

Brief description: Batter: curry powder, allspice, garlic, cayenne, flour, and egg. Fry in peanut oil.

Growing up my mother never fried anything. Ever. If we were to have fried chicken, it came in a bucket with a bearded man on the side of it. (The bucket, not the chicken.) So frying something is not something I’m inclined to do. But Bryan choose page number 666 during a recent came of Cookbook Roulette and I found myself learning to fry.

On the first two pieces the batter did not seem to stick with the chicken very well.

The second two, I dried with a paper towel before battering and that seemed to work better.

In the end it didn’t seem to matter because very little batter stuck with the chicken till the end. After reading the Basics of Fried Chicken on page 663 later, I would suggest frying in two batches next time. I didn’t think the skillet was too crowded, but perhaps giving the pieces even more space would have helped in the end.

The chicken was still delicious and is something I’d like to try again in the future. Just remember to read up on frying if you are a novice before trying it.


  1. It appears to me from the second picture that the batters on top of the pieces, which hadnot set yet, slided off the chicken to the oil while you were cooking the bottom sides. If you do this recipe again, you could increase the oil level so that the whole chicken pieces are submerged in oil. This allows all surfaces of the batters to set as soon as the pieces hit the oil. If you want to use less oil, debone the chicken pieces (good opportunity to practice deboning), cut the pieces to nuggets, and fry them in a small sauce pan. The procedure is probably similar to the Spicy Deep-Fried Fish in page 594. I have not made these recipes yet and probably never will. Paul.

  2. I would like to add also that 1/2" oil level may work for the two recipes before and after this recipe- Fried Chicken Made Easy on page 665 and Buttermilk Fried Chicken in page 666. The reason is that the coatings on the chicken are in powder form and they don't flow. But in this recipe, the paste is a liquid. It may be very viscous at room temperature, but once it see some heat, the viscosity of the paste goes to zero and the paste flows like crazy. This recipe is an example of how Mr. Bittman varies the seasonings from one recipe to the next without actually actually making them to make sure the same procedure still work. Another example that doesnot work is the variation from the oven-baked Ratatouille to the stovetop version, page 373. Paul.

  3. After rereading the book, I think 1/2" oil level is a typo. In page 19, He says to use at least 2" of oil for deep frying at the begining of the 4th paragragh. Every other deep frying recipes call for 2" oil. So the all of the fried chicken recipes in pages 665 and 666 should be corrected from 1/2" to 2". I think the 1/2" level comes from the "shallow" frying recipe in the yellow book. I don't have the yellow book anymore so I cannot check. Paul.