If you know me well enough, you know that I loathe fried chicken. I know that’s sacrilege coming from a Southern girl, but I can’t help it: the greasy chunks of breading, the fear of finding pink at the center of a big bite of drumstick or the chance it is over cooked and I could lose a tooth, all make my stomach turn.
Sadly (or so I once felt), the males in my house adore fried chicken, especially the kids, so I decided to play one day. The end result is the recipe below and it changed my status from fried chicken hater, to big fan. Seriously, it’s a wee bit healthier than straight-fried (in that the bulk of the oil is drained on towels and in the oven. Ok, just go with me on this) and it is cause for great celebration in this house when I announce that’s on the menu. The crust is perfect, but the sauce is the kicker. I received a very strange look from J last night when I cleaned my plate and told him I could bathe in this sauce.
Fried Chicken with Thai Sauce
1 1/2 cups flour
1 can coconut milk
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 – 1 tsp ginger
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 lbs chicken breast, cut into 2 inch strips, or drumsticks, or a mixture
Peanut oil for frying. Other oils work as well.
Place half of the flour (I will often throw a little Tony’s into this first bowl) into a bowl and the coconut milk into another separate bowl. In a third bowl, mix the salt, garlic, ginger, cayenne and the remaining flour, combining well.* Dip the chicken in the plain flour first, then the milk and last the seasoned flour mixture, coating well.
In a large stovetop or electric skillet, fry the chicken in batches until browned with a nice golden crust; move to paper towel to drain. I learned to only do 5 or 6 pieces at a time to better maintain a frying temperature between 350 and 375 degrees.
Transfer to a greased baking dish, or, to maintain the best crust and for easier clean up, cut wax paper to fit the bottom of a cookie sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes depending on the thickness of meat.
1 cup water
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 TBSP + 1/2 tsp corn starch
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp peanut butter
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ginger
3 TBSP finely chopped, fresh cilantro (dried does fine in a pinch)
Combine all but cilantro into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and pour over chicken.
* I will often double the recipe for the seasoned flour, reserving half for when the coconut milk renders the mix too chunky. The finer flour adheres much better for a nicer crust that stays on the chicken through the entire cooking process.