With a crisp crust and all spiced up with the warming spices of South India, this Kerala fried chicken will thrill you and the lucky ones you are serving. Make it hot or not; either way, this chicken is memorable!
Course Main Course
Keyword Chicken, Curry Leaves, Egg-free, Entertaining, Gluten-free, Indian-ish, Kerala, South Indian
Prep Time 20minutes
Cook Time 20minutes
Total Time 1hour40minutes
3poundsboneless and skinless chicken thighs~ About 8 thighs
2cupsyogurt~ Or buttermilk
3tablespoonswhole garlic cloves~ Or 9 garlic cloves, puréed, or finely minced
1tablespoonginger~ Grated or puréed
1tablespoonKashmiri ground red chili~ Or 1/2 tablespoon cayenne or substitutions, more or less to taste
2teaspoonsgreen chili~ Minced: 3 small Indian or 1 1/2 Serrano chilies
Mix together all the marinade ingredients. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature for 20 minutes before frying.
Gather all the breading ingredients and mix together. Place a cooling rack on a sheet pan to be ready for the fried chicken.
Shake off excess marinade and coat the chicken with the flours and spices.
Using a dutch oven, wok, or a large cast-iron skillet, add oil to the depth of 1-inch and heat over medium-high heat. Bring the oil to 350°F (180°C) using an instant-read thermometer, candy thermometer, or use the handle of a wooden spoon. If using the wooden spoon test, put the end into the oil, and if tiny bubbles come up immediately, the oil is hot enough. After adding each batch of chicken, temporarily increase the heat as needed because the additional meat will reduce the temperature of the oil. Frying with too low a temperature will lead to oily fried chicken.
Stir the chicken frequently to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and getting random dark spots. Fry it until it is a deep golden brown and cooked through and the temperature registers 165°F (75°C) on a thermometer. This will take about 4 minutes on each side. Place the cooked chicken on the cooling rack to drain and sprinkle with coarse salt, if using. Leave space between the pieces of chicken and keep it warm in a 200°F (100°C) oven. Don't leave it too long or it will dry out. A 30-minute wait will be fine.
If you are using curry leaves after all the chicken is cooked, add the curry leaves to the hot oil and fry for 10 to 15 seconds until turn a darker, shiny green.
Serve with raita and/or a favorite Indian pickle.
Play with a mix of flours that work for you. Potato starch, cornstarch, and rice flour all add to the crispiness of your final coating. If you are not avoiding gluten, you can use all wheat flour if you don't have any of these other ingredients.
Instead of all purchased garam masala, use a mix of 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala and 1 1/2 teaspoons chaat masala, or use your favorite curry powder. Play with your favorite spices for this delicious Kerala fried chicken!