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The ultimate fried chicken

 In Chicken, Dinner/Supper, Lunch, Recipes

Buttermilk-soaked chicken coated in a seasoned, crisp coating makes this the ultimate fried chicken. Delicious served with easy corn salad.

The ultimate fried chicken

I have absolutely always loved Fried Chicken. As a young girl, my dad would treat us by bringing home a bucket of chicken and I would be over the moon. As I grew older though, I realised that this really wasn’t the most wholesome of meals and evidently, so did my parents as we saw the bucket less and less. I haven’t had a piece of the Colonel’s chicken in ages but I can’t imagine it tasting as good as I thought it did when I was young. Yet, I often crave crunchy, juicy, well-flavoured chicken and so decided to develop my own recipe for good the ultimate fried chicken.

The ultimate fried chicken

Let’s start at the very beginning. You can not expect the ultimate fried chicken if you start with a sub-standard bird. An organic (free-range at the very least) bird will not only yield moist fried chicken, the flavour will also be unbeatable. To ensure you are met with juicy chicken once it’s been fried, it’s a good idea to leave your chicken pieces (with the skin on) in a buttermilk mixture. The buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and adds the first layer of flavour. I left my chicken to soak for 24 hours but at least 8 hours is my recommendation.

When it comes to ‘breading’ the chicken, I use a simple flour and spice mixture. I can’t tell you whether they are the same as the ‘secret herbs & spices’ the Colonel uses but I can tell you that I got damn close and that mine tasted even better. I think the spice that is non-negotiable for me is the smoked paprika. It adds a lovely hum of smokiness which is just perfect with the crunchy chicken. To fry the chicken I used canola oil and my large cast-iron pot. As long as you have around 10cm of oil in a pot, you should be fine. And make sure that you turn the chicken occasionally so it browns evenly all over.

The ultimate fried chicken

To serve, I decided to make a roasted corn salad made with charred corn, cherry tomatoes, red onion and lots of flat leaf parsley. Add a finely chopped chilli and a squeeze of fresh lime and you have the perfect accompaniment to the chicken.

The ultimate fried chicken

The ultimate fried chicken
Buttermilk-soaked chicken coated in a seasoned, crisp coating makes this the ultimate fried chicken. Delicious served with easy corn salad.
Recipe type: Dinner, Chicken
Serves: 4
  • 8-10 chicken pieces, skin on (drumsticks, thighs, wings are bet)
For the buttermilk soak
  • 500g buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
For the flour breading
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 2l canola oil for frying
For the roasted corn salad
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. To soak the chicken, combine the buttermilk with all the spices (I do this in a large ziploc bag) and add the chicken. Mix well to ensure the chicken is well coated then place in a large bowl and place in the fridge for 8-24 hours).
  2. When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk and allow the excess to drip off.
  3. Combine all the ingredients for the breading in a large bowl and place the chicken in the flour. Press the flour into the chicken to make sure it's well covered. If you want extra crunch, you could double dip to create a thicker coating.
  4. Heat the oil in a pot and fry the chicken in batches until cooked through and golden brown (around 10-15 minutes depending on size).
  5. Drain the chicken on kitchen paper before serving.
  6. To make the salad, roast the corn in a pre-heated oven (250°c with grill on) until charred.
  7. Slice the corn off the cob and place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Serve with the fried chicken.

Fried chicken sandwich with creamy coleslaw

Fried chicken sandwich

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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 11 comments
  • Cathriona

    Hi how much oil do you fry the chicken in? Is it a deep fry? Love your recipes 🙂

    • Alida Ryder

      Yes, you need to have enough to deep fry the chicken. Thanks Cathriona! 🙂

  • verushka ramasami

    Yummmm will defo be making this for summer

  • Alida Ryder

    That salad is divine, just love it.

    And yes, my second book (Cook from the Heart: Food for every Mood) is going to be out in November. 🙂

  • Lou

    Hi, what first got my attention here was the fried chicken but sadly I still haven’t had a chance as yet to give it a go. On reading further I thought: oh, that salad is the perfect companion. So when we had visitors, (I didn’t want to fry that many pieces of chicken) I decided to shove a roast chicken in the oven and made the corn salad with and everyone went nuts over the salad. thanks for all your great recipe’s …
    ps: isn’t your other book due to come out soon? looking forward to it 🙂

  • Alida Ryder

    Annette, dis belangrik dat die hoender rou is as jy dit in die karringmelk mengsel sit anders gaan die marinade niks aan die hoender doen nie.

  • Alida Ryder

    Vicky, I didn’t check the temp but I would say medium hot. The chicken should start frying immediately but the oil shouldn’t be bubbling heavily.

  • Vicky

    What should be the oil temperature?

  • Annette

    Hallo Alida,

    Heerlik! Kan ek die hoender vooraf bietjie kook en dan marineer?

  • Lisa the Gourmet Wog

    oh YUM!! I love fried chicken but it’s not a big trend here in Australia, home made is best of course. Thanks for posting this, I going to give it a go

    • Alida Ryder

      Let me know what you think once you have tried it.

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