Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fried Chicken - KFC and Otherwise

I am pretty fond of fried chicken. Salt, grease, sugar (in the form of carbs in the breading) -- with 3 out of the 4 major geek food groups (only caffeine is missing) what's not to like? has a recent article on "secret" ingredients in commercial items like Coca Cola or KFC chicken. The conclusion? In this day of CSI forensic analysis, not to mention corporate liability for injuries from food allergies, there are no "secret" ingredients. In the case of KFC, the breading is 4 rather 11 ingredients -- the 4 being flour, salt, pepper, and MSG.

The Guardian's Word of Mouth blog provides a couple of recipes (and a video!) comparing the KFC experience with a couple of homemade efforts. The recipes are as follows:

American mix
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Accent (MSG)

English mix
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp sage
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried onion flakes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper

Mix up one of the mixes above, and combine with a cup (possibly two cups?) of flour. (For experimental follow-up - we need to try this with spelt flour, and then for those with extreme wheat intolerance, with corn starch).

Get some chicken. Marinate chicken pieces in milk overnight. (Alternative - try this with coconut milk).

Poach the chicken in the milk by bringing to a rapid boil, and then simmering on low heat for 20 minutes.

Coat each piece of chicken in the flour/herb mix. Dip each coated piece in milk again, and apply a second coat.

Deep fry each piece in a deep fryer until golden brown. (Those of us with no deep fryer as well as concerns about the hazards of deep frying will do shallow frying instead.)

The Word of Mouth article and associated video says that comparing fried chicken prepared this way with KFC chicken is like comparing a real peach to canned peaches -- they are clearly the same thing, and both are good, but the real peach (or in this case, the homemade chicken) is good in a way that is unmatched by the canned peach (KFC fast food).

We're going to try this soon and report back.

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