Thursday, August 18, 2011

Home-made KFC - fry me to the moon!

Practising what I learned in class today and making dinner at the same time
- kill 2 birds with a stone. Only one bird here though.

Here's my golden brown, shallow-fried chicken for dinner tonight.
Use lots of herbs for this dish. I cut some basil from my pot here.

After rubbing salt and pepper onto the chicken, I soak it in milk mixed with basil. Leave it for at least an hour, or 3 if you have the time, allowing the milk to tenderise the meat. I suppose you could use yoghurt too as they do in Indian cuisine for tandoori chicken.

Three hours later, I prepare to season the flour adding sea salt, ground pepper, and mixed herbs of oregano, tarragon and parsley. You can use dried herbs for this dish but fresh herbs will add more colour. Chop them finely so the children will not see them and be picky later on (mother to mother!).

I coat the chicken pieces lightly with the seasoned flour.
Lay them out single layer. Pat off excess flour.

Where it used to be the dreaded part, now working on the oil and fire is most interesting to me. I heat up a low pan, add canola oil and wait for it to hit the right temperature, ideally 175-190 degrees Celsius. Chef recommended we use a thermometer to check but I'm happy with my own method - insert a wooden ladle and if you see tiny bubbles, it's ready. Big bubbles mean the oil is too hot. Reduce and wait again.

Gently, I place a few pieces of chicken in. Place skin side in first. Leave it for a minute, then turn. Baste it often - this is important. Baste only after the first turn. Repeat, giving each side about a minute. 

I like it that I can see herbs throughout the entire prep and cooking process.

Remove when golden brown. If unsure, remove and cut up one piece to check that the meat inside is not red or no red juices flow out. Again, a meat thermometer is recommended. Oops, he didn't say what the right temperature should be. Anyone knows?

Hear these comments from my family:

"Like KFC!" Daughter and son

"So tasteful and not oily." My fussy-eater daughter

"Not salty enough." My most honest taste-tester husband. He's right. I used only 1 tsp for 1kg of meat, I eat my food rather bland. I could have doubled that and it would still be ok.

"Good, very good." Foodie son. He took 5 pieces. (Is that the KFC family meal??!)

"Fry a little longer next time so the taste can penetrate all the way in." My mommy dearest

My own verdict:
"I am elated!!" I crossed a milestone today - I am considerably less fearful of open fire and hot oil. I start to get a better feel of them. I connected with them! We are not the best of friends still but I am more open-minded now about them. Chef has opened my culinary senses to see that shallow fried and deep fried food need not be greasy and disgusting as I've always thought them to be. KFC minus the grease, replacing processed meat with fresh free range chicken, and MSG with herbs, and kids liking it. What a bonus.

Fried chicken is the new cupcake - fry me to the moon now!

In the midst of my little kitchen joy, I thought, Hey, I'm not missing the corporate life, man!


Tell me what you think. I want to know.