This unusual, old-fashioned technique sounded simple enough, but we had to work to achieve the picture-perfect, golden-brown crust and moist chicken that we were after.
Why This Recipe Works
This unusual, old-fashioned technique sounded simple enough, but we had to work to achieve the picture-perfect, golden-brown crust and moist chicken we were after.
As far as technique went for our Batter-Fried Chicken recipe, deep-frying easily beat out shallow-frying. With shallow-frying, the batter always burned on the bottom. To ensure a crisp crust, we replaced the milk in our initial batters with plain old water. It turned out that when wet batter hit the hot frying oil, the moisture in the batter vaporized, leaving behind the solids that adhered to the chicken. With milk, the sugars in the milk solids were browning too fast and producing a soft crust, which is just flat-out wrong for fried chicken.
Using equal parts cornstarch and flour in the batter ensured a crisp crust on the chicken. And baking powder added lift and lightness without doughiness. We flavored our batter with black pepper, paprika, and cayenne for simple but unambiguous flavor.