The great New Orleans Chef Leah Chase said to Julia Child, "I don't care where you're from or who you are. There's nothing like a good piece of fried chicken." I couldn't agree more! My signature fried chicken is moist, crispy, flavorful and satisfying.
- 4 tablespoons berbere
- 4 tablespoons hot smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons celery salt
- 1½ teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1½ teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup coarse kosher salt
- 8 chicken thighs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chicken shake, plus more for serving (recipe above)
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup semolina flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
For the chicken shake:
Whisk all ingredients together. Store in an airtight jar, in a cool dark place for up to 6 months.
For the chicken:
1. Put 2 cups of the water and the salt into the saucepan over high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour into a large container, add the remaining 6 cups water, and cool to room temperature. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 1½ hours. Drain.
2. Whisk the buttermilk, coconut milk, garlic and chicken shake together in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Submerge the chicken in the marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Fill a large saucepan one third full with peanut oil. Set over medium-high heat and heat to 360°F.
4. Put the flour, semolina, cornstarch and white pepper into a bowl and whisk to combine. Let any excess marinade drip off the chicken, then roll in the flour coating, packing it on. Place on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet (if the coating looks damp, roll it in the flour again).
5. Working batches, fry the chicken until it is a rich brown and has an internal temperature of 165°F, about 10 minutes per batch. Keep an eye on the heat and adjust it to keep the oil between 350°F-375°F. Drain on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
6. Season the finished chicken with a sprinkle of chicken shake and serve.