Fried chicken is comfort food personified. Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and succulent on the inside. Most people can't resist the calling of fried chicken. There are numerous versions of it and I'm sure every cuisine and culture has its signature way of making it. One that immediately comes to mind is the fried chicken classic - Southern Fried Chicken - lightly breaded and fried to a golden crisp after being marinated in buttermilk that gives it a juicy and tangy taste.
My version of fried chicken is asli desi with a characteristic red color but not the kind achieved by artificial coloring. The marinade itself has very few ingredients and the most vital is the chilli powder which gives this chicken a hot and smoky flavor. This is the way my grandma or awwa as we would fondly address her used to make it ever since I can remember. It's one of those dishes that jazzes up a simple meal of just rice and dal, it's fantastic as an appetizer and can still hold it's own when served alongside biryani.
With this version of fried chicken the longer it marinates - the better it tastes. And since the marinade is ridiculously easy to put together you can just mix it up, refrigerate it and forget about it. And while you go about doing your stuff the marinade is working it's magic on the chicken. Yumm- O.
The chilli powder that this recipe calls for is plain ground dried red chillies. Note - this is different from chili powder that is used to season American chili. The lime in the marinade helps cut the grease and soften the chicken. Turmeric helps remove that chicke-ny odour. A teaspoon of oil added into the marinade helps keep the chicken moist. Don't be alarmed at the large quantity of chilli powder being used here. Trust me, after you're done frying the chicken the heat from the chilli has mellowed down quite a bit. So it's not insanely hot - which you would expect looking at the proportion of chilli being used. It has a pleasant bite to it. Nevertheless this is still a dish for people who love hot food.
Speaking of hot food and people who just cannot tolerate it reminds me of my dear friend M. (I know I know a lot of you lovely readers gave me feedback saying "What's with this whole dear friend thing?" But how else can I say this? I guess next time I'll look for a better phrase, until then.....dear friend it is.) She's a very sweet lady who helped me adjust so well to a new city and a new country. Most importantly she made me feel so much at home and took such good care of me when I needed it the most. They are one of the nicest couples we've met and befriended, very welcoming about the fact that we came from a different country - our food was different and our culture was different. So one fine day we decided to have them over for dinner. Both of them love Indian food and she also mentioned that she was especially fond of palak paneer. So what did yours truly do? But of course make palak paneer........ with about 10 extremely hot thai bird chillies ground into the spinach sauce. To me it was just an ordinary green chilli that we find at India. There was no way of fishing it out!
Well she was nice enough to swallow a few morsels of it before she had to run to the restroom. A few minutes later she emerged with tears streaming down her face! After a few bowls of vanilla ice cream and plain naan bread(which was all that she had for dinner - I know....... I'm awful) she was back to her old self willing to give pani puri a try the next weekend. Lesson learned - thai chillies are potent.
I'm sending this recipe across for the monthly Think Spice event which focuses on a spice a month and this month's theme is red chillies. Red chillies can be used in fresh, dried, whole or powdered form.
This event is being hosted by Lakshmi Venkatesh who blogs at this beautiful blog Think Spice - Think Red Chillies.
Think Spice was started by the very talented and gracious Sunita Bhuyan of Sunita's World.
I had previously forgotten to also link to Archana's Mad
Tea Party where she's hosting a Party Event in which the recipe entry should have less than six ingredients. What a great idea for cooks who are short on time and still want to entertain!
Here is red chilli in its most unadulterated and star-of-the-show form.
1 kilo or 2lbs chicken cut into smallish pieces
3 - 4 heaped tbsps of red chilli powder
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 large lime/lemon juiced
1 tbsp of neutral tasting oil
salt to taste
Oil for frying for chicken. Neutral in flavor - peanut or vegetable oil works best.
1)Wash the chicken and pat dry. Keeping the surface of the chicken dry helps it absorb the marinade better.
2)For the marinade - mix together the chilli powder, turmeric powder,salt, lemon juice and oil. Make a thick paste.
3)Rub this marinade all over the chicken and let it rest in the fridge, overnight for the best flavor. If you don't have that kind of time, allow to rest for 2 hrs at least.
4)Deep fry the chicken in batches taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Maybe about 5 - 6 pieces at a time on a medium flame until they attain a uniform dark red color all over.
5)Serve hot with a generous squeeze of lime.