- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Grind all the spices for the spiced salt using a mortar and pestle.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.