I’ve been wanted to try this out for ages – the theory is that the buttermilk tenderises the chicken and then acts as the base for the crispy coating
It’s a really easy recipe – to be honest, it was only finding the buttermilk that proved to be difficult. I finally found some in one of the bigger supermarkets – ironically in the same week I read that natural yoghurt would have worked just as well. Which makes sense – I’ve done chicken marinated in yoghurt and tikka/tandoori spices and that’s always really tender and stays moist even when barbecued.
First up, the chicken needs to sit covered in buttermilk for at least four hours – one to do in the morning before work or overnight. Season the buttermilk with salt and pepper and a pinch of chilli powder then pour over chicken joints.
When you’re ready to cook, prepare the ‘southern’ coating:
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp garlic power
1tsp onion powder
1tsp paprika (or smoked paprika if you prefer)
1 tsp mustard powder (e.g. from a tin of Coleman’s)
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp salt and ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp All Purpose Seasoning
If you can’t find onion/garlic powder use onion/garlic salt (but don’t add any more salt to the mix) or buy dried onion/garlic and grind them to a powder.
For a really easy version – use 6 tsp All Purpose Seasoning as it’s basically a mix of garlic, paprika, celery and pepper. Combine that with the mustard, salt and pepper and flour. You don’t get quite the same depth of flavour but it’s a really good simple way to do this quickly.
Put the flour/spice mix into a sandwich bag then take the chicken out of the buttermilk and drop it into the bag. Give it a good massage so that it’s completely covered.
Heat a pan of oil – no more than a third full – to 180 degC. The easy way to test if your oil’s hot enough is to drop in a small cube of bread and if it goes golden brown within a few seconds, it’s ready.
Fry the chicken in batches – no more that two bits at a time probably. The outside should be golden brown and it obviously needs to be cooked (clear juices) all the way through to the bone. Let it rest for a good ten minutes in a warm oven.
Next time I make it I’m going to try it with yoghurt – I’ll report back here…