I think I lost my mind the other day. So, I’m working a real full-time job now so I don’t have the leisurely cooking time I used to. But, I got it into my head that I wanted to make fried chicken (which I’ve never done before) after work. And I was also going to make a vegetable (easy no prob) and skillet cornbread (also never done before). Who decides to take on all that after work? I think it’s a crazy person who does that.
Now not only was I going to make an extensive new meal, I didn’t even have all the ingredients. When I got home I put my stuff down and then walked to the grocery store. And then, after looking around a bit, walked to another grocery store because I didn’t like how expensive things were at the first place. At 7:30pm my mom called me to ask how it was going. I had called her earlier in the evening to ask for the recipe. This recipe is actually my grandmother’s, and it’s one that my mom recently started making again. My grandmother was a great cook and made most things from scratch. My memories of her are often in the kitchen cooking us up something warm and delicious. And so, my mom was passing on the recipe to me. It has been over two hours since I had called her, so it’s understandable she expected me to be done.
“No, I’m just about to start frying,” I told her.
“Oh,” she sounded a little worried, “You’re going to be eating late.”
But actually, once I got myself going it went pretty smoothly and we ate about 8:15pm. And let me tell you it was delicious! Crispy, flavorful, and oh so amazingly juicy. I was so excited. And Ryan was pretty impressed. Both of us had the wide-eyed look of surprise that this came out as good as chicken we’d had at many restaurants. So, I’m going to share with you my grandma’s chicken recipe. I did also make cornbread, but I’m not going to provide the recipe because I didn’t think it was delicious enough to share. I will however share a picture because I think it looked cool. I don’t know why, but I felt like making it in the skillet was more special than using a regular pan.
But back to the chicken. To make the fried chicken I used my deep-fryer. People always seem a little mystified and curious about the deep-fryer so I thought I’d first explain how it works. First, with a deep-fryer you’re going to have to buy a lot of oil. It’s a little gross, but get over it. The good thing is, if you feel comfortable you can reuse your oil. You can reuse the oil if you a.) strain it after each use (I use cheese cloth and a fine strainer) and b.) it’s still close to the original color from when you bought it. Do not reuse your oil if a.) you used it for raw meat b.) it’s become a dark color c.) it’s getting old and bad. Ryan and I were having burning eyes from the deep fryer and I did some research about that. If it’s burning your eyes it because the oil is getting old or is burnt and it’s just not good anymore.
But, when you have new fresh oil it’s so easy to use. The deep fryer has six main parts. There’s the basket, the heating element & control panel, the lid, the breakaway cord (for safety), the oil container (the black inside part), and what the manufacturer calls the “stainless steel body” or the silver part that holds the oil container. So the oil container goes into the body, then the heating element fits on top of that.
You fill the container with oil until the oil level is somewhere between the max and min lines. You can kind of see the level markers in the bottom right picture. Also in the bottom right picture you can sort of see the “spout” in the corner that makes it easy to pour out the oil. Seriously cleaning is really easy because the pieces come apart so quickly. Anyway, you use the control panel (which is attached to the heat element) to set the temperature. Once it’s ready it beeps and you lower the basket with your food into the oil. It will sizzle and pop, but with the lid it’s all contained! Nothing is getting on your counter, on your clothes, or your face. You can also peek through the window to make sure your food is cooking properly. For real, it’s greatness. When your food is done, you can lift the basket up a level so it can drain the food over the oil. Simple! I’ll admit since there are so many parts, cleaning takes a bit and when drying the pieces take up my whole counter. But for cooking it could not be easier. There is really no crazy popping, splatting, or smoking mess that there used to be. Finally, the deep fryer is fun. People who come over always seem a bit impressed. So invite some people over and make them some chicken.
And one more thing, I’m sorry there aren’t more pictures. I really thought I was taking action shots, but I only took pictures of the finished product. But that’ll be enough to win you over I think.
1 whole chicken cut into parts. Alternatively, you can always just do drumsticks, or wings, or whatever you fancy
Adobo (You could also make your own spice blend)
2- 3 Egg Whites
1. Make sure the chicken is full defrosted. Don’t rush this step, let it really thaw.
2. Pat the chicken dry.
3. Put oil in deep-fryer and set to 350°. If using a skillet, heat about an 1″ of oil on high heat. You can use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature. Also, you can check if it’s hot by flicking a drop of water on the oil. If it pops vigorously then it’s ready to go. Skillet frying is somewhat harder though because it’s more challenging to regulate the temperature. When you put food in the oil, the temperature drops and it’s hard to get it back where you need it. The deep-fryer can maintain the heat evenly throughout.
4. Season generously with adobo. If you haven’t had adobo before, it’s just salt, garlic, oregano and turmeric. Sometimes I add pepper and onion powder too. If you don’t have adobo, you can make do with the spices you have. Now, seasoning is a practice makes perfect thing. You want to season it a lot so in the end your skin has good flavor. But don’t go crazy thickly coating every side because then it will come out salty. Season it so it looks like a lot but it’s not a thick layer. Sorry that’s not more clear.
5. The number of egg whites is arbitrary, you just need enough so that each piece of chicken can be coated. I cooked 9 pieces of chicken, and two were very large so I used 3 egg whites. Anyway, take your egg whites and gently beat until a little bit foamy.
6. Take a paper bag or gallon-size plastic bag and put some flour in it. Again, it doesn’t matter how much flour, but you need enough to coat the chicken.
7. Take a piece of chicken, coat it in the egg whites.
8. After you’ve dipped the chicken in the egg whites put it in the bag of flour. Hold the bag closed and shake it so that flour covers the entire chicken. I wish I had taken a video of this because I think this part is fun. Depending on size, you can probably fit 2-3 pieces of chicken in the bag at one time.
9. Shake off any excess flour.
10. Put the coated chicken in the basket and lower it into the oil. If using a skillet, put the chicken directly in the oil. The skin will tighten a bit and start to crisp up.
11. Fry for about 15-20 minutes depending on size of the chicken. Turn about half way through is the chicken isn’t fully submerged in the oil. You’ll know the chicken is done when a.) the skin is crispy and golden brown b.) the internal temperature is 165°.
12. Eat this deliciously decadent at chicken goodness. Seriously, you bite into it and there’s a satisfying crunch followed by plump and juicy chicken. Make this recipe!
Messy Level: This definitely has potential to be less messy, but for now I have to give it 4 spoons. Coating raw meat in three different things makes a mess. It created an awkward breaded coating on my hands. And it led to clumpy spills on the counter. Also the oil afterward is really gross because it’s got lots of crispy bits in it. The meal is worth it, and actually it’s quick to put together, but it’s a messy process. At the end of cooking I told Ryan, “well I’ve used everything in the kitchen and it’s all dirty.” And part of that was because I made more than just the chicken, but ultimately my kitchen was still a disaster zone.