JAMAICAN CURRY FRIED CHICKEN (for four)
8 chicken thighs or an assortment of chicken pieces, trimmed of excess fat
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon curry powder, preferably homemade, more to taste
½ teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 Scotch bonnet (habanero) or other fresh chile, stemmed, seeded and minced, or cayenne to taste, optional
1 cup flour
corn, grapeseed or other neutral oil for deep frying
lemon or lime wedges for serving
1. Toss the chicken in a bowl with the salt, pepper, curry, allspice, garlic, 2 tablespoons water and the egg. When thoroughly combined, blend in the flour, using your hands. The mixture will be a mess; keep mixing until most of the flour is blended with the other ingredients and coat the chicken – it will never be perfect, so don’t spend too much time on it. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.
2. When you’re ready to cook, put about 2 inches of oil in a skillet or large deep saucepan and turn the heat to medium high. When the oil reaches about 325* — a pinch of flour will sizzle – you can begin to fry the chicken. Dredge each piece in any flour that remains in the bottom of the bowl and gently place in the oil. Do not crowd; cook in batches if necessary (this chicken will stay hot for a good 15 to 20 minutes after it’s done anyway). Fry, turning 3 or 4 times, until nicely browned all over, about 20 minutes. At that point the pieces will be done, but if you want to make sure, make a small slit in each piece and check for blood. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or cold with lemon or lime wedges.
adapted from Mark Bittman, The Best Recipes in the World