Sofa chicken recipe

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  • Yield: 4 Servings


For the Buttermilk Bath
  • 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) boned and skinned chicken thighs, cut into long lozenges, gristle and sinew removed
  • Groundnut oil, for deep-frying
  • 9 fl oz (250 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli flakes
For the Crisp Crumb
  • 5½ oz (150 g) potato starch or cornflour
  • 9 oz (250 g) instant polenta
  • ½ unwaxed grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • ½ tsp amchoor
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
For the Spiced Salt
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 green cardamom pod seeds
  • 2 tsp sea salt
How to Make It
  1. Put the buttermilk in a large bowl, scrape in the vanilla seeds and add the vanilla pod and chilli flakes. Add the chicken, cover and put in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  2. When it’s time to cook, put all the crisp crumb ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Lift the chicken out of the buttermilk bath and into the crumb bowl. Toss until well coated, then set aside on a wire rack.
  3. Grind all the spices for the spiced salt using a mortar and pestle.
  4. Pour the groundnut oil into an electric deep-fat fryer set to 170°C. (Or fill a large saucepan one-third full of oil and put it over a medium heat. After about 4–5 minutes drop a piece of white bread into the oil; if it takes 3 seconds to turn golden brown, it’s the right heat for the chicken. If not, adjust the heat accordingly.)
  5. Using kitchen tongs, pick up individual chicken pieces and gently lower them into the hot oil. Don’t crowd the chicken – cook in two or three batches. Deep-fry until crisp and golden, allowing about 4–6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken; check by slicing into one of the thicker pieces; the juices should run clear, not pink.
  6. Remove from the pan, sprinkle liberally with the spiced salt and serve immediately. They go really well with Chilli Jam and a rich garlic mayo.

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