This is an adaptation of the recipe described by Julia Moskin in the New York Times. It amounts to a dipping sauce, a poaching broth and a quick deep frying of the final chicken. The advantage of a recipe like this is that the chicken is already cooked when you fry it, so you needn’t worry about cooking the chicken through, when the pieces vary in size, as they seem to do in supermarkets these days. Further, the poaching renders some of the fat out of the chicken skin, so you needn’t skin the chicken.
While this can be a highly spiced dish, all of the heat is in the dipping sauce and you can easily control the heat by choosing the kind of peppers As written, it calls for two Thai bird chiles or habanero chilis which have Scoville ratings of 100,000 to 600,000. By contrast. Jalapeno peppers have a relatively mild Scoville rating of 3,000-10,000. For our first experiment, we chose the easily available Jalapeno pepper rather than searching down the super hot ones that may have lesser appeal here in Connecticut.
The Dipping Sauce
- 3 Tb lemon juice
- 2 Tb maple syrup
- 2 Tb fish sauce
- 1 Tb soy sauce
- 2 hot peppers, thinly sliced (we used Jalapeno)
- ¾ cup water
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until chicken is ready.
- 2 ½ cups white vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 bay leaves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups water
Place the broth in a large pot with a close-fitting lid, and simmer for 5 minutes. Then turn the heat down to the lowest possible simmer.
- 2 lb dark meat: legs and thighs, wings if you must. Do not use white meat.
- 2-3 cups Buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp semi-hot paprika
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 4-8 cups canola or peanut oil
- Salt the chicken, and place the chicken pieces in the broth pan so that they are covered.
- Poach for 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces once.
- Turn off the heat, and let the chicken cool in the broth for 10 minutes.
- Drain the pieces on a paper towel.
- Mix the flour and spices in a plastic storage bag.
- Heat the oil in a cast-iron pan to 365° F.
- Dip the chicken in butter milk and then shake in the flour.
- Shake off excess flour and fry the chicken a few pieces at a time. Cook the chicken 4-5 minutes, turning several times. You want the chicken evenly browned and heated through, but you do not need to cook it further.
- Drain the chicken pieces on paper towels and serve hot with the dipping sauce.
Commenters on Moskin’s recipe have suggested marinating the chicken overnight to enhance the flavor. We don’t think that is needed, as the flavor is quite pronounced, but you want to avoid overcooking the chicken in the broth, as it eventually will dry out the chicken.