This buttermilk fried chicken recipe is adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. Keller is the winner of Best Chef in America 1997, and the only American chef to be awarded 3 Michelin stars at two different restaurants, Per Se in New York, and The French Laundry in San Francisco.
His recipe is 3-page long, and the steps so tedious. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I have simplified the recipe.
It’s freaking amazing that I didn’t eat anything for the rest of the day because I didn’t want my memory of it to be tainted! Brining prevents the loss of moisture of the chicken during cooking and the batter protects the chicken inside, so while it’s crispy like a biscuit on the skin, the inside is so juicy it squirts! The chilli really adds depth to the chicken. I don’t want to boast but it’s even better than Arnold’s chicken.
1.5kg chicken [I used solely drumsticks for easy eating]
Peanut or Canola oil
1 litre buttermilk
Salt & pepper
2 litres of cold water
0.5 cup of salt
6 bay leaves
0.5 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled
1 tbs black peppercorns
2 large rosemary sprigs
a small bunch of thyme [I omitted this]
a small bunch of parsley [I omitted this]
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemons
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1.5 tbsp paprika [I omitted this]
1.5 tbsp cayenne [I used 3 chopped red chilli. Go more if you can take spice.]
1.5 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1. In a large pot, add 500ml of the water with all the other ingredients listed under “Brine.” Simmer over gentle heat until all the salt has dissolved. Cool completely before stirring in the remaining 1.5l of water. Submerge chicken fully, and brine in refrigerator for no more than 12 hours, or it will get too salty.
2. After 12 hours, rinse chicken under cold water to remove herbs and spices. Wipe chicken dry, and leave it till it’s at room temperature.
3. Divide coating flour into two plates. Then coat chicken with (a) coating flour, (b) buttermilk, and (c) coating flour. Tap off excess flour.
4. Down the chicken goes into a 160-Celsius oil. If you don’t have a thermometer like me, drop a little batter in the oil. It should touch the bottom of the pot and float up immediately. Don’t crowd the chicken; work in batches if needed. Cook for about 12 mins, turning the chicken at the halfway mark.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.