Fried Chicken. I spent a good part of the first decade of my life eating it. If you asked me when I was 8 what my favorite food was, I’d tell you it’s Fried Chicken. A little more of it and would have clucked my way into puberty.
I grew up with fried chicken marinated in soy sauce and calamansi (a citrus fruit that is oftentimes substituted with lemon). It tastes different than lemon and there’s no getting around to it in traditional Filipino recipe. It’s very hard to find these one inch citrus rounds in North America. And if at all you do, you’d have to pay a hefty price for them. [It's worth it for me -- if I can only find it!] So when I really want the fried chicken I grew up with, I’d have to just imagine it. And it’s hard!
I tried making a different version with ingredients I have and see how it would go. Just to try…hoping, hoping…
I marinated skinless breast pieces with the bones intact in lemon juice, teriyaki sauce, cayenne pepper, and fresh ground pepper for half an hour. Afterward they had undergone 2 flour coatings: The first is blended with salt and pepper; and the second with salt and cayenne pepper, with a dip in beaten egg in between.
It was fried to brown then baked for 10 minutes, turned halfway through the time.
It had more (and different) ingredients than my childhood recipe, but it tasted so close to how I wanted it with just a li’l bite from the cayenne. It was awesome. And the coating was finger-lickin’ good. I ate two big pieces!
Taste evokes all sorts of memories, just like the sight, smell, or feel of something. It’s knowing exactly how your grandma’s paella tastes like, or your mother’s fruit tarts, or your dad’s special steak rub. You’re in another place in another time with just one bite. And I…I was transported back to when I had to have a pillow on the chair so I can reach the table and eat my fried chicken with white rice because nothing else was good enough to waste my appetite on. I’m just glad to have the good taste of this back in my life (very shallow, eh?) and be able to replicate it again, and again, and again.
If you’d like to try it, here’s the recipe:
- 4 skinless chicken breasts with bone
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, divided
- 3 tbsp teriyaki sauce
- 1/4 cup and 3 tbsp flour
- 2 eggs, beaten in a shallow bowl
- fresh ground pepper
1. Marinate chicken breasts in lemon juice, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, teriyaki sauce and fresh ground pepper. Poke the meat with the fork several times and massage the marinade into the punctured meat for a couple of minutes. Cover in a bowl and leave for half an hour or more.
2. Mix your flour dredges in two separate wide and shallow bowls: (Dredge #1) 3 tbsp flour, 1/4 tsp salt, fresh ground pepper; (Dregdge #2) 1/4 cup flour, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.
3. Place your pan in medium heat with enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Make sure oil is very hot before frying.
4. Preheat your oven to 300ºF.
5. Drain chicken to get rid of excess marinade. Dredge and dip chicken pieces individually in this order: Dredge #1, tap excess flour. Dip in beaten egg. Dredge #2, tap excess flour.
6. Fry for 4 minutes each side and place on an oven safe dish.
7. Bake chicken for 10 minutes, turning it halfway.
8. Take it out and devour warm on its own or with freshly cooked rice. :-)