Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fried Chicken (dairy and egg free): Doing the things that are too much trouble

Today, Son grabbed two bottles of nail polish (two bottles of nail polish that I bought with the thought that I would actually try painting my nails but have NOT USED AT ALL) and ran to the sofa and starting bopping around.  He was holding the two of them upside and singing as loudly as he could into them.  And as I watched, I was exasperated because I have told him multiple times not to jump on the sofa, as his sister had one time done the very same thing, slipped and conked her head on a huge stone table.  But his face was full of so much joy as he belted out some very very strange song that didn't make sense to me but was having a blast.  And as I tried to watch without cringing, I thought at that moment, this is a very cool moment that I should just let happen.  The OTHER HALF of me was battling saying, "STOP HIM!  He's not supposed to do that!  He could fall and crack his head!  Are you crazy?  You're teaching him you don't follow through!  What kind of mother are you?"

The half that was tired of all the rules and tired of all the scolding won.  I let him bop around and then after about 10 minutes of screeching his song, he stopped and hopped off the sofa and handed me the nail polish and walked away.  And he probably didn't learn his lesson, but it sure was easier than taking him off the sofa, giving him a series of time-outs and watching him scream bloody murder as a disciplined him.  Today, it was just too much trouble to fight him.  Tomorrow, perhaps will be a day when I can fight and win.

There are just a ton of moments when a mother just gives up and gives in because it is too much trouble.  Our family doesn't eat out because it is too much trouble trying to order to fit Son's allergies.  We only go to a few select houses for food because I know that these people will be sensitive to Son's needs and either make meals that he can consume OR warn me so that I can provide food for him.  And as for fried chicken, I've basically written it off as something that Son could never ever eat - due to the egg and dairy in it.  It's just not worth the trouble to figure it out.

But, as I planned a family dinner to celebrate some birthdays, I thought that I might give it a whirl.  I might try making some fried chicken so that Son could enjoy it.  Bear in mind that I HATE frying food at home.  I have very few deep fried food recipes on my blog because I don't do it.  I hate the oil, the splatter, the residual smell, the disposal of oil and all of the complicated mess that goes into deep frying. I don't do it, and since I don't do it, we don't eat it.  I do enjoy it when friend JEL makes it, as she is an EXCELLENT fryer (I call her the Fry Master) but we just don't do it at home.  In fact, the most recent experience with exquisite fried chicken was at her house and Son couldn't eat it.  But I remembered the look on Son's face when he couldn't have it and I decided that I wanted him to experience fried chicken, even if I only did it once.

I called up friend JEL, and got some pointers from her and she warned me on the phone, "It's a LOT of work the frying.  Why are you doing it?"  I just responded that I wanted to try.  After all, at SOME point I have to do something hard, especially since I had been slacking on the hard stuff where the kids were concerned.  I took notes, looked up recipes, and began figuring out substitutions.

And the night of the birthday dinner was all rave reviews for the chicken.  It had a fantastic crust, tasted just delicious and Son...well he didn't eat the chicken and only ate the crispy bits, but I figured since it is his only time getting to eat fried chicken why not.  It is a bit of work and frying chicken takes WAY more time than you would expect (about 15-23 minutes in oil!) but it is well worth the time and effort.

You will need to set aside time to brine the chicken (at least 2 hours or up to 24), a coconut milk soak, and then frying time.  I broke up the work over the entire day, doing a bit at a time, so when it came time to frying, I could just really focus on that super messy part.
Fried Chicken (Egg-free, Dairy-free)
adapted from Tyler Florence's Fried Chicken

1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
1 quart coconut milk (I love SO Delicious brand)
2 tablespoons hot chili sauce (recommended: Srirachi)
Canola oil, for frying (You can use peanut oil, but I got great results with the canola...and we are a peanut free zone in our house)
1/4 bunch fresh thyme
1/4 bunch fresh sage
6 cloves of garlic

Lemon wedges, for serving


Put the chicken pieces into a large bowl. Cover the chicken with water by 1 inch; add 1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water used. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

In a large shallow platter, mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, until well blended; season generously with salt and pepper. In another platter combine the coconut milk and salt and pepper and mix well.  Drain the chicken and pat it dry. Sprinkle vinegar all over chicken. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes. Then pat dry. Pour about half the coconut milk all over the chicken and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.

Dredge (coat the piece in flour) the pieces, a few at a time, in the flour mixture, then dip them into the coconut milk; dredge them again in the seasoned flour. (you are repeating this step twice to get a really nice coating.) Set aside and let the chicken rest while you prepare the oil.

Put about 4 inches of oil into a large deep pot; it should not come up more than half way. Add the thyme, sage, and garlic to the cool oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil registers 315 to 325 degrees F on one of those clip-on deep-fry thermometers. The herbs and garlic will perfume the oil with their flavor as the oil comes up to temperature.

Once the oil has reached 315 to 325 degrees F, working in batches, carefully add the chicken pieces 3 or 4 at a time. Fry, turning the pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Total cooking time should be about 30 minutes. When the chicken is done, take a big skimmer and remove the chicken pieces and herbs from the pot, shaking off as much oil as you can, and lay it on a tea towel or brown paper bag to soak up the oil. Sprinkle all over with more salt and a dusting of cracked black pepper. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Once all the chicken is fried, scatter the fried herbs and garlic over the top. Serve hot, with big lemon wedges.

Printable recipe

you can see the juiciness of the white meat here....brining helps ensure this.  (the first step of soaking in the salt water.)


Smurfette79 said...

WARNING- this is only a joke!- EGG FREEE!!!!! what lab was that chicken made in?????? gasp! :) I'm sorry I couldn't resist but to say that.!

Joanne Choi said...

@Smurfette...I know. It constantly boggles my mind that one of son's favorite things to eat IS chicken, and he can't have egg....nutty, eh?

The Marcus Family said...

I'm so sorry your son has such a large amount of allergies but he is so lucky to have a mom like you who tries her best to let him enjoy the same things other kids get to enjoy. Is he allergic to wheat, too? I'm just curious bc I got tested and it came back negative. My korean dr said asians just don't get celiac disease and that he has never seen it in all the years he has practiced gastroenterology. I still think I am slightly sensitive.

P.S The kids and I ate your heavenly (and sinful!) bacon, garlic, and broccoli pasta today for lunch. It is so good but I am only willing to make it every once in awhile!

Meta Topp said...

It looks deliciously divine!!! I can not wait to try it!!! It is a hard task to conquer with those particular allergies. I have found myself craving fried chicken but it's not the same without the buttermilk soaking.

Thank you for putting forth the effort. I know Tyson makes chicken strips,nuggets,and other products that are free of dairy and egg and I've often wondered how. You may have solved that mystery!!!

Joanne Choi said...

@ Marcus Family - Son is NOT allergic to wheat, thankfully but I do try to limit him only because I have read that gluten clogging up your intestines can lead to more allergies. I haven't cut him off though. Just can't do it. With all the things he CANNOT eat, taking away one more just seems...cruel.

Meta Topp - try and give that buttermilk tang with the vinegar rub. It definitely adds a little special something but I think the coconut milk one is really really delicious.

Jen said...

I highly recommend thai fried chicken. Search for chez pim thai fried chicken. It's a gluten, dairy and egg free recipe. Your recipe looks delicious but I think you and your family will enjoy this as well and the ingredients are super simple.

Gladys said...

For my part everybody ought to glance at this.


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