ALTHOUGH THE AMERICAN SOUTH HAS LAID CLAIM TO FRIED CHICKEN—and rightfully so—nearly every culture has a similar bird dish. There is a true universality to brining a bird to plump it, dredging it through seasoned flour, followed by deep frying. I grew up eating fried chicken in my mother’s kitchen in a South on the other side of the world.
When I moved to the American South, I happily discovered many fried-chicken-loving kindred spirits. Guests often assume that my fried chicken comes from my exposure to the cuisine of the American South. It’s always fun explaining to them that it is actually part of my Keralan heritage.
Makes 6 - 8 Servings
2 cups buttermilk 10 garlic cloves 6 whole serrano peppers, seeded if desired 1 bunch fresh cilantro (about 1 cup) 1 bunch fresh mint (about 1/2 cup) 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds) Canola oil, for frying 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
How to make it
In a blender, combine the buttermilk, garlic, peppers, cilantro, mint, and 2 tablespoons of the salt and purée until smooth.
Place the chicken in a large container with lid, and pour the buttermilk marinade over the chicken. Toss the chicken in the marinade, making sure it is well coated.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours.
When ready to fry the chicken, fill a large cast-iron skillet with 1 inch of oil and heat gently over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F.
Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
Combine the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt in a shallow dish and set aside.
While the oil is heating, remove the chicken from the marinade and gently shake off the excess marinade. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, coating thoroughly.
Place the chicken in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pieces. Cook the chicken until it is deep golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F.
Drain the chicken on the cooling rack and drizzle with the melted coconut oil.