As part of my job as brand ambassador and chef for Taste of America, I develop recipes that are typically American and give cooking classes across Madrid and Spain. Every week or two (depending on the season) we change them to give everyone a chance to taste the many varieties of flavours and aromas that can only be captured by a country filled with a history that is based on the union of people and nations.
Personal Note: I’m Canadian… I sometimes think it ironic that I would be promoting our neighbours to the south. But, my goal, here and in life, is to explore all countries, their cuisine & their history (which is a big reason why I left Canada 11 years ago and have been living in Europe ever since)… But like the USA, Canada is another country rich in traditions that originated with its immigrants and history.
Seriously, folks… many think that Canada and the US are the same, but really – there are so many differences. Especially in the local cuisines.
This week’s class theme was (is) Southern Comfort Food, in honour of Martin Luther King (who’s birthday was January 15th, but will be celebrated this third monday of January – January 21st).
This first recipe is the one that had me fighting my way across the dinner table for more. I couldn’t believe how good my homemade version of it was. (If you agree, please let me know by adding a kind comment below).
The recipe: Col. Sanders’ Finger lickin’ Good Kentucky Fried Chicken. That’s right! The most iconic of fast foods in your own home, folks! Can you believe it? These last 11 years, I have never once seen a KFC in Europe… last year, they started popping up, and I couldn’t resist the temptation… I went onto various websites, watched endless youtube videos, (most of them basically just dipping their chicken in plain flour), and then I found this one recipe on about.com from a guy who names himself the spice guru… He says he reverse engineered the recipe (whatever that means, but it sounds like far more work than I’m willing to do) and he posted his recipe. I tried it, and quite honestly, I found it to be a bit too much work and so, I adapted the recipe for those of you, like me, who have work, kids, a house, a dog, and other things keeping you too busy to spend hours in the kitchen for a single meal… Plus – I substituted almost all of the 11 secret herbs and spices with a regular version that can be found ANYWHERE around the world. (If you can’t find it, email me at carla[at]chefcarla dot com and I’ll give you some great online spice stores that sell and ship anywhere on the planet).
I tested the recipe with 30 of my students today (another 30 on tuesday and there will be another 40 in February)… As I quickly cleaned up and set up for my next recipe (Bourbon Pecan Pie which is my next posting), I heard people saying: “Oh my gosh, its just like the real thing!”. I was pretty happy.
It is a delicious recipe and I’m sure that if you make it once…. you’ll be making it over and over again.
Bragging alert! When my class was posted and opened for registration, last week, over 80 people signed up in the first 24 hours for the 25 spots we had available. What was even more incredible to me is that, with the request for a spot, came many personal thank yous and kind comments on my teaching style. I’m so thankful and shocked!. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
- 1 whole chicken or 10-12 drumsticks (with skin on)
- 4 tsp of Popcorn salt (strong sea salt works too)
- 1 1/2 tsp of powdered milk
- 1 tsp of meringue powder (dry egg whites)
- 1 tsp of garlic salt
- 2 cups of plain white flour
- 3 eggs (beaten and sieved to remove egg’s membrane)
- 1 tsp of each of the following 11 herbs and spices:
- freshly ground black pepper
- white pepper
- dry sage
- ground coriander
- ground ginger
- ground cardamon
- chili powder
- all-spice (or ground jamaican pepper. If you can’t find it, replace with 1/3 ground cinnamon, 1/3 ground nutmeg and 1/3 ground clove)
- dry basil
- ground nutmeg
- vanilla caviar (vanilla paste will also do)
- 3-4 cups (700grs) of Crisco (you can also use vegetable oil like canola or corn)
- Mix the 11 herbs and spices in a gian ziplock back
- Mix well and make sure to remove and clumps (caused by the vanilla)
- Add in the flour, meringue powder, powdered mill, salt and garlic salt
- Seal bag and shake well until well blended
- In a bowl, beat eggs and sieve them into a seperate bowl big enough to dip the chicken pieces
- *Sieving the eggs will ensure that the mucus membrane of the egg is removed, therefore making the egg more liquidy and easier to use as egg wash.
- If using a whole chicken, cut the chicken into 8 pieces using kitchen shears.
- Dip the chicken pieces in the egg, one by one, ensuring that they have been completely covered in egg and place in ziplock spice bag.
- You can place 3-4 chicken pieces in the bag at a time.
- Seal bag and shake until all pieces are properly covered with the spiced flour mixture.
- Place on a plate and repeat with remaining pieces of chicken
- Once all the pieces have been floured, once, repeat egg and flour steps in order to give them a second coating to give them extra crispiness.
- Heat the Crisco (or oil) in a deep fryer. The oil needs to be hot. To test, add in a pinch of flour. If it sizzles, its ready.
- Carefully place the chicken pieces in the oil. Use a good pair of tongs to prevent burns and splashing.
- Do not fry too many pieces of chicken at once or the temperature of the oil will change.
- Depending on the size of the chicken pieces, it may take between 10 and 20 mins for proper cooking. (check by inserting a knife next to the bone. Juices should run clear)