I had to test loads of fried chicken over the last couple of weeks. It was really tough getting home from work. Then being ushered into the kitchen and presented with fried chicken and a glass of wine. Honestly. Sometimes I just don’t know how I cope 😉
I’m being cheeky of course. I’m not sure who would decline the option of fried chicken and wine (or beer) if it was presented to them. Especially this fried chicken, which is much healthier than your standard fare. To make it extra awesome we present you with a variety of tips and tricks. This includes gluten-free options and homemade sauces.
To ensure maximum moisture but minimum greasiness we use our Anova Sous Vide to cook the chicken prior to deep frying (Much like we did in our Teriyaki Chicken Bowl post) Because the chicken is perfectly cooked already, we’re only frying to colour the crust. This means 2-4 minutes of frying, rather than 15-25.
Up until a few years ago Sous vide had been largely out of reach for most home chefs due to both cost and size. In the last couple of years there’s been some fairly major innovation in the space though – the units have gotten smaller and easy to use, and cheaper at the same time. I bought Alan an Anova sous vide for his birthday via their Kickstarter campaign in 2014, and these days it’s a permanent fixture on the bench. Standards in the kitchen have definitely improved! The unit attaches to any large pot or container (we use our stock/soup pot) which you then fill with tap water. It’s easy to store too – not much bigger than a large bottle of wine.
Of course if you don’t have a sous vide then the oven is fine – it won’t be ‘perfect’, but it will still be much healthier than traditional frying!
The fried chicken. What can I say really? Look at the photographs and tell me that doesn’t look amazing! Deliciously crunchy, fabulously moist. We served this one with my favourite homemade plum sauce. It was so good, but particularly great because it wasn’t super greasy. You’re lucky there are any photographs to be honest, it rarely lasts this long in our house! The drumsticks are my favourite. I’ll always go for those first 🙂
We know deep frying can be a little scary if you haven’t done it before. Here are our tips for the best results.
Tips for the Best Healthy Fried Chicken!!
- Deep frying done wrong can be dangerous. For best results kick the kids out of the kitchen, and get all your prep done first so that you can focus on the task at hand.
- Use a neutral oil like vegetable or peanut – never use olive oil or anything similar with a low smoking point. If you’re unsure what the smoking point of that oil sitting in your pantry is, see here.
- If you don’t have a deep fryer (we don’t) use a deep heavy bottomed pan like a dutch oven or a soup pot. Don’t fill the pot more than half way, because the oil will always bubble up when you add food to it. Stabilize your oil temperature BEFORE frying, not during. (This is so that you don’t need to fiddle with the heat while cooking). Use a heat proof thermometer for best results.
- Drain your chicken on a wire rack setup over top of a sheet pan for best results and easy clean up. Paper towels or anything like that will likely result in soggy chicken.
- Never crowd the pan – whatever is in the oil should have plenty of room to move around. Too much food at once will significantly lower the oil temp, slowing the cooking process and resulting in greasy chicken. Alan only does 3-4 pieces at a time, depending on size.
- OPTIONAL, but for absolutely the best results – brine your chicken first over night first. We use Chefsteps Equilibrium brine.
- 1-2 Kilo Chicken pieces*
- Salt/pepper to season
- 2 cups soy milk
- 1 TBS lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 cup plain high protein flour
- 1 cup rice flour (or another cup of the plain high protein flour)
- ½ cup cornstarch/cornflour
- 2 TBS paprika
- 2 TBS Salt
- 2 TBS ground black pepper
- Cook the chicken with salt and pepper only sous vide at 68 C. 3 hours for dark meat, 1 hour for light.
- If not using sous vide: Cook covered in the oven at 180 C, or gently poach - until an internal temp of 68-70 C or the juices run clear. About 20-25 minutes depending the size of your pieces.
- Set the chicken aside for 15-20 minutes while you prep fryer. For best results you want it warm, but not hot.
- NOTE - at this stage you can stop cooking, put the chicken in the fridge, and come back any time in the next 2-3 days to finish the rest of the recipe.
- Preheat your oil to 205 - 220 C (400 - 425 F).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the soy milk and acid and set aside.
- In a second large bowl, do the same with the dry mix.
- One piece at a time, dredge the chicken: Dry, wet, Dry - then place on a wire rack. We can start frying once all pieces are done.
- Fry the chicken in small batches of 2-3 pieces, for 3-4 minutes each - until nicely browned. Set on a wire rack over a sheet pan once cooked and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve hot - plain, with lemon wedges or your favourite sauce.
**For our dry mix we've just kept it simple with salt, pepper and paprika - but you can really add whatever you want.
For Gluten Free fried chicken, swap the regular flour for rice flour - it's delicious.
When dredging the chicken, take time to shake off ALL the excess flour. If not removed it will fall off during frying and burn. It also makes cleaning up afterwards that little bit less fun.
Nutritional Info – Fried Chicken:
(Assumes 4 servings)
Have a question about this or another recipe, or want to make a dairy-free recipe request? Email us at [email protected], or let us know in the comments below!