Keralan Fried Chicken (or Cauliflower) #KFC

They say you shouldn’t mess with a classic and don’t get me wrong, the colonel’s recipe is good – I regularly crave it. But, in my very humble opinion..injecting the classic with some spice and heat takes it to another level! My Mum introduced me to the idea of an “Indian-ified” KFC. When my brother and I were kids, she used to make it for us on birthdays or special occasions.

I originally created my own version for a web series I did with Tastemade a little while back (video below!) a couple of years ago. It has wonderful Keralan/South Indian flavours which add depth, aroma & heat. The chicken is first marinated in coconut milk, curry leaves, ginger, chilli n garlic. Then coated in coconut & plain flour and deep fried until golden and crisp. It also works incredibly well with cauliflower if you want to make a veggy/vegan version!

I hope you like this recipe! Let me know your thoughts on on InstaTwitter or Facebook.

Oh and don’t forget to join me next Friday on 29th May for my next live cook-along class. Keep posted to my social media over the next few days to see what we will be making.

Happy cooking y’all x

Keralan Fried Chicken (KFC)

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken thighs skinless. Use cauliflower florets for a veggy/vegan version.
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 ” fresh ginger root
  • 2 birds eye green chillies
  • 4 stems fresh coriander washed
  • 2 stems curry leaves, de-stemmed & washed optional
  • 1 ½ – 2tsp salt according to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • sunflower/vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 100 g coconut flour If you don’t have this, just use 200g plain flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp onion powder optional
  • 6 stems curry leaves washed, dried and de-stemmed for garnishing (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a blender, blitz coconut milk, garlic, ginger, chillies, coriander and curry leaves and empty into a bowl. Add the chicken along with salt, garam masala, coriander powder, paprika and turmeric. Cover & refrigerate for as long as possible (24 hours is best) but at least a couple of hours.
  • Place the plain flour, coconut flour, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and onion powder in a shallow bowl and combine.
  • Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before cooking. Place enough oil in a pan so it is about 4-5" deep and place on a low/medium heat. I like to use a small-medium sized wok.
  • Now shake off any excess coconut milk marinade from the chicken and dredge each piece in the flour and evenly coat Then place the chicken piece back in the marinade, shake off any excess and dredge in the flour once again. (I like to use one hand for placing the chicken in the marinade and the other hand for placing the chicken in the flour as it is less messy this way!).
  • Very carefully place into a medium pan of oil at 180ºC. Repeat with the next piece. Cook 2 pieces at a time to keep the temperature from falling.
  • Cook for 8-9 minutes. Then use a pair of tongues to carefully turn each chicken piece once golden. Cook until golden brown on the other side. The chicken should be cooked and white in colour internally. You can also use a thermometer probe to check the internal temperature is 75 ºC.
  • Remove chicken pieces from oil using a slotted spoon and then place on a wire tray/rack to drain.
  • Now, place the curry leaves into the same hot oil. They may splatter slightly so be careful. Deep fry for 5-10 seconds. Remove and drain using a slotted spoon and then place on kitchen paper. Allow them to cool slightly until crisp, then crush the curry leaves with your hands and sprinkle over fried chicken.
  • Serve with your KFC with your favourite dipping sauce/Indian chutney!

South Indian Style Paneer Mattar

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Yesterday was one of those days. Yes one of *those* days. I woke up early, feeling amazing with a big smile on my face, leapt out of bed with a huge bolt of energy and drew back the curtains to see…oh what have we here? Grey skies, rain, a sodden garden and general wetness and dullness…everywhere. I immediately let out a long grunt type noise, that phonetically spelt out, would be something along the lines of UGGHH. My first thought was to jump straight back into bed and stay there. I mean, Wednesday is nearly Friday which is practically the weekend…right?! I spent a few more minutes trying to rationalise the idea but then opened up my reminders app on auto-pilot, and saw my epic “To Do” list staring at me. Grave error – my dreams of returning to a quilty haven shattered in a single click of the Home button. 

Some may call me over dramatic (my other half regularly does) but I’m a huge believer that weather can truly affect your mood. I knew that I needed something to “pick me up”. After a quick visit to the gym, (they say you only start burning fat after 20 minutes of cardio – I thought 21 minutes on the step machine was as a solid time) I decided I would make lunch before I started my day. Cooking generally puts me in a good mood and I figured it would give me something to look forward to!

This brings me to today’s recipe. Have you ever made paneer before? I make it ALL the time. It’s so quick to cook, a good source of protein and super versatile. Paneer Mattar is a dish I cook regularly at home – it’s lovely and comforting. Imagine a creamy and chunky casserole but with a depth of warm spiciness and just a cheeky little kick.  This time round, I decided to “pimp” my usual recipe by giving it a South Indian twist with mustard seeds & curry leaves. Let’s just say my pre-lunch frown was quickly turned upside-down!

If you have never used curry leaves in your cooking before, you must try. They’re beautifully warm and fragrant and bring any dish to life.

Give it a go!

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South Indian Style Paneer Mattar
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 220g paneer, chopped
  2. 5-6 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp cumin
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. handful of curry leaves, washed, dried & roughly chopped
  6. 2" ginger, grated
  7. 2 cloves garlic, peeled & grated
  8. 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  9. 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  10. 1/2 tsp paprika
  11. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  12. 1 tsp garam masala
  13. 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  14. 2 plum tomatoes & 2 tbsp tomato juice
  15. 1 cup peas
Instructions
  1. Heat 1-2tbsp oil in a non-stick pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. When they begin to splatter, add the paneer and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until golden on one side. Turn over the paneer pieces and cook until golden on the other side. Remove paneer from pan.
  2. Add remaining oil to a non stick pan. Once hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. You will see them begin to splatter immediately. At this point, add the ginger, garlic and chilli. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until golden.
  3. Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric powder & garam masala. Add the yoghurt and stir quickly. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the yoghurt blends well with the masala.
  4. Add the tomatoes and juice and mash well into the masala. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Now add the peas and 2 cups of water. Bring to boil. Now add the paneer and cook for further 2 minutes. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat.
  5. Serve with hot chapattis or naan bread!
Notes
  1. You can leave the skin on ginger, before grating - just make sure it's washed and clean. This way you have zero wastage from peeling!
  2. You can sauté the paneer in cumin before hand and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge until you want to use it. This paneer can also be used in salads as a tasty topping!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/