Tropical Paradise Fried Chicken, Mon!
If there is a place in the world where fried chicken is one of the most popular food choices, then that place would have to be the Caribbean Islands. Every cook on each island has their own way of making fried chicken and each cook's fried chicken just happens to be the best on the island!
Some like fried chicken that is fried dark. Some like a light color. Some like dark meat and some like the white sections. Some like it crispy and some like it greasy. Some like fried chicken spicy and some like it sweet. Some like it buttermilk dipped and some like egg dipped. Some doctors tell their patients not to eat fried chicken and the patients eat it anyway. Some even sing songs about fried chicken. By all counts, fried chicken is hard to beat!
What condiment goes good with fried chicken? Plain old salt for some. Pepper Vinegar, Sherry Pepper Sauce, Honey, BBQ sauce, Sweet & Sour and Hot Sauce are just to name a few. Mango Chutney also goes well fried chicken, especially if the coating is spicy. Mango Chutney provides relief from the spicy heat. Mango Chutney is a common accompaniment in Floribbean and Caribbean cuisine.
Most cooks from the Caribbean Islands that I have worked in the past preferred to use egg wash and a seasoned flour to cook fried chicken. Sometimes honey is added to the egg wash. Other Caribbean cooks used highly seasoned buttermilk wash. I like buttermilk dipped fried chicken the best, because it is easy to get that crispy golden brown coating that nearly everybody likes.
I made both of these recipes at the Le Cordon Bleu campus Technique Restaurant while working there as a sauté cook and saucier. The Caribbean Fried Chicken was a personal meal for myself! The Mango Chutney was my own recipe that I have used in several restaurants in the past.
This recipe yields about 3 cups of chutney!
Step 1: Boil 2 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
Add 3/4 cup of cider vinegar.
Add 1 cup of sugar.
*Taste the liquid. The mixture should taste like a balanced sweet and sour flavor. Adjust the amount of sugar or vinegar as necessary.
Step 2: Rapidly boil till the liquid reduces to a very thin syrup consistency.
Step 3: Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Add 1 chopped peeled apple. (About 3/4 cup.)
Add 2/3 cup of chopped onion. (The apple and onion will create natural pectin.)
Simmer till the apple and onion becomes very tender. Add water as necessary to keep the liquid at a very thin syrup consistency.
Step 4: Add 1/3 cup of minced dried fruit.
*Dried cherries, dried cranberries, prunes, white raisons or dark raisons are best for making chutney.
Add 3 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped garlic.
Add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Add 1 tablespoon of thin chiffonade sliced fresh lemon zest.
Step 5: Add 2 finely chopped green onions. (Only use the white sections of the green onions.)
Add 1/4 cup of small chopped green bell pepper.
Add 1/4 cup of small chopped red bell pepper.
Add 2 finely minced seeded jalapeño chile peppers.
Step 6: Add 2 cups of diced peeled mango.
Add 1/3 cup of mango puree or mango juice.
Step 7: Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
Add 2 to 3 pinches of white pepper.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of allspice.
Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
Add 1 pinch of Indian Yellow Curry Powder.
Step 8: Bring the ingredients to a gentle boil over medium heat.
Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
Gently simmer till the chutney reduces to a thick fruit preserves consistency.
Step 9: Remove the pot from the heat.
Let the chutney cool to room temperature.
Place chutney in a container.
Chill the chutney for at least 3 days. (2 weeks is best because the flavors will completely meld.)
*Chutney can be kept in a refrigerator for almost 6 months, just like fruit preserves!
Caribbean Fried Chicken:
This recipe yields 1/2 of a chicken or 4 pieces. (I chose 4 pieces of dark meat legs and thighs for the fried chicken in the photos.)
Step 1: Cut 1/2 chicken into 4 pieces.
*The bones and skin should always left on fried chicken! Just trim off any excess fat
Step 2: Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF. (Old fashioned deep frying lard is traditional!)
Step 3: Place 2 cups of flour in a mixing bowl.
Season the flour with sea salt and black pepper.
Step 4: Place 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk in a second mixing bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
Add 2 to 3 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 pinch of allspice.
Add 2 pinches of ground ginger.
Add 1 teaspoon of Indian yellow curry powder.
Add 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.
Add 1 small pinch of ground celery seed.
Whisk the ingredients together.
Step 5: Lightly dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture.
Step 6: Place the chicken pieces in the buttermilk mixture and completely coat each piece.
Step 7: Place the seasoned buttermilk coated chicken pieces back in the flour mixture. Gently shake the mixing bowl, to coat the chicken with flour.
Step 8: Place each fried chicken piece in the hot oil, one at a time, so the oil does not foam.
Fry the chicken pieces till they are fully cooked and crispy golden brown.
*A probe thermometer inserted to the center of a piece of chicken next to the bone should read 165ºF+ for 15 seconds. The cooking time depends on the size of the chicken pieces.
Step 9: Use a fryer net to place the fried chicken on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan. Keep the fried chicken warm on a stove top.
Caribbean Fried Chicken with Mango Chutney:
Place a bed of leaf lettuce on a plate.
Place a ramekin of the Mango Chutney on the back half of the plate.
Garnish the plate with 2 lime halves.
Place a pinch of chopped fresh herbs on each lime half.
Mound the Caribbean fried chicken on the front half of the plate.
The best Caribbean Fried Chicken!