Panko-crumbed fried chicken
I bought panko bread crumbs the other day, because I saw them, and had always wanted to make something crisp and devilishly fried with them. Today was the day and I went hunting around the supermarket for something I could cover them in. The fish looked flacid, the tofu was sold out and the prawns were pre-cooked. But, there were some free range chicken breasts – all was not lost! I hadn’t intended to cook chicken. I have to tell you something at this point. I’ve never, at least since I was too young to really remember, eaten fried chicken. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask! Because, ridiculous as it may seem, I am only interested in eating outdoor-reared chicken and, whilst I’ve heard of a few pop-up joints that now offer this, I’ve never ever seen free-range fried chicken, anywhere. I’d rather not eat it, than eat those poor battery farm-reared chickens. So, until today, I was a fried chicken virgin. I’m converted.
I really, REALLY, urge you to try this. It’s such a treat, and so easy! Just use good quality chicken if you do ;)
And dip the crispy chicken in sweet chilli or soy sauce for maximum enjoyment!
You will need:
2 free range chicken breasts, chopped into sizeable chunks (ie 2-3 bites-worth)
3-4 tbspns of flour
1 egg, beaten
60g panko breadcrumbs
1.25l vegetable oil
Wedges of lime, to serve
Sweet chilli dipping sauce and/or dark soy sauce, to serve
1 – Once you’ve portioned up the chicken, season the pieces well
2 – Tip the flour onto a small plate, the egg into a small dish and the panko breadcrumbs into a shallow dish
3 – Grab a wide, deep saucepan and fill with the oil; set on a medium-high heat while you prepare the chicken (keep a close eye on it; it’ll need a good 5+ minutes to achieve the right temperature)
4 – Taking one piece at a time, roll the chicken in the flour so that it has a nice full coverage and then transfer it to the egg; coat well before dunking the chicken in the panko crumbs – pat these on well to ensure they stick and set aside
5 – Repeat until all of the chicken pieces are coated, washing your hands periodically to make sure the panko breadcrumbs don’t get too sticky from the egg residue
6 – Test that the oil is hot enough by throwing a spare panko crumb into the pan; if it fizzes up with lots of energy, it’s ready
7 – Carefully lower your chicken pieces into the oil, carefully but speedily (to ensure even cooking time) and using tongs
8 – Cook the chicken until its golden brown and crisp – about 6 minutes
9 – When you think it’s ready, remove the largest piece of chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon and cut in half to check it’s done
10 – When ready, remove all of the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain/pat dry with kitchen paper; season lightly and serve immediately with lime wedges
Do not keep these warm in the oven – they will go soggy! You must serve immediately – otherwise, they aren’t worth having!