Although fish and chips remain one of the UK’s most popular takeaway options, fried chicken is a close second. With hungry punters spending more than £2.3 billion a year on wings and drumsticks, fried chicken is fast becoming an obsessive favourite. And the grand news is, you can make shop-styled chicken in the comfort of your own home. In this post, we’ll tell you how.
Choose the chicken cuts
The most popular chicken pieces for deep frying are wings, thighs, and drumsticks. Not only do they take less time to cook than larger pieces, but they’re often more enjoyable to eat. Their small size makes them perfect finger food – it’s impossible to avoid licking your fingers clean!
Dry brine your chicken
For maximum flavour, it’s best to dry brine the chicken. Dry brining is the catchy term for a very simple process of seasoning and resting before cooking. This allows the seasonings to really soak into the meat, without soaking it in salt water. Dry brining also means that the air reduces moisture on the skin of the chicken, helping it become crispier when fried.
A useful tip is to put half of your desired flavourings on the chicken when dry brining it, and the other half in the batter or breaded mixture prior to frying. This should help to get the maximum amount of flavour on your fried chicken. Also remember that the fat from frying dampens some of the flavour from seasoning, so consider adding a little more to compensate.
How to batter a chicken a deep frying
Once you have prepared and flavoured your chicken it is time to think about what type of batter you want to use. Generally, to get the crispiest fried chicken it is best to opt for a typical batter recipe. However, if you are looking for a slightly healthier option, consider swapping the batter for breadcrumbs instead. To use breadcrumbs as a coating, you should firstly dip the chicken in milk or eggs, then add the crumbs mixed with seasoning. This allows as much of the seasoning mixture to stick to the chicken as possible – This method is much quicker and creates less mess!
A typical frying batter is made up using a combination of flour, salt, baking powder, milk and a little water. You can alter the measurements of these depending on how thick you want your batter to be. There are a few additional ingredients you can add to your batter to help create the perfect crispy coating. The most popular being egg whites, cornstarch and alcohol. Each having a significant and surprising impact on the overall batter. Egg Whites adds a protein structure, while also helping the batter to stick to the chicken due to their consistency. Make sure you don’t use whole eggs, as the fat in the yolk will result in a softer, less crunchy coating.
Cornstarch makes the coating crispier by weakening the flours’ proteins just enough to make the batter tender, without losing any of its qualities. Finally, alcohol helps to set the coating and create light, flaky layers. It rarely affects the taste of the fried chicken as it evaporates so quickly in the frying oil. If using these ingredients as well as the previous dry brining, then the batter should easily stick to the chicken. However, if it doesn’t, you can always pat the chicken to dry it down first.
Which is the best oil for deep frying chicken?
Various oils can be used to deep fry chicken, with different oils having varying effects on the texture and taste of the chicken. Sustainable palm oil, however, is an excellent choice. Its high smoking point and delicate taste means that your fried chicken will come out the fryer crispy, succulent, and packing some serious flavours. When you’ve chosen your oil, be sure to know when it’s ready for cooking. If the temperature is too low, the food will quickly soak it up, becoming soggy and greasy. If the temperature is too high, on the other hand, the food is most likely burn in the oil. To avoid either from happening, make sure you have a food thermometer and closely monitor the oil as it is heating. Many deep fryers actually come with a thermometer built into them. The ideal temperature for frying chicken is about 350 degrees, and it should take the oil approximately 6 to 10 minutes to reach this temperature.
After frying the chicken, leave it to cool and drain on a wire rack.
If you’re looking for a stable frying oil that will cook your food in minutes, choose Frymax. Our sustainable, premium-grade palm oil is relied on by chippies across the country to serve up high-quality fried foods. If you’d like to learn more, get in contact with Frymax.