Kerala fried chicken is southern fried chicken with a big Indian twist. Everything you love about fried chicken jacked up with green chili, cilantro and spice.
I don’t think Kerala fried chicken is anything you can get in India. I’ve never seen on an Indian restaurant menu. But I did see it on Ugly Delicious.
This is the brain child of Asha Gomez. And it’s brilliant. I’d never heard of it. But if it’s good enough for David Chang…
Kerala fried chicken is an Indian twist on a classic
Fried chicken is my guilty pleasure. So as soon as I saw this I had to try to figure it out.
Wound up eating way too much fried chicken. Made my house stink like a deep fryer. But it was worth it. So worth it. It’s incredible. Ms. Gomez is inspired.
This is crispy like great southern fried chicken. It’s got that juicy buttermilk brined thing going on.
But it has a big Indian tastes too. Not fusion. More like a mash up. And there’s a bit of fire too. A nod to Nashville hot chicken.
It wasn’t easy to figure out. There’s a few recipes scattered around online. Some clues. But they don’t line up with what I saw on Ugly Delicious.
And I figure Asha Gomez talking to David Chang was more credible than adapted from a book by Bon Appetit.
So I watched that bit of the episode about 20 times. Thought about everything she said.
Little hints. Clues. More garlic. Big taste of ginger. Chili powder and garam masala to finish. And this is what I came up with.
Mint coriander chutney buttermilk brine
It’s a variation on mint coriander chutney mixed with buttermilk. That’s the big secret. I managed to get the proportions close by matching the colour of the brine on the show.
Indian spices in the flour dredge. That wasn’t so hard to figure out. Boneless skinless chicken thighs. Only ever boneless skinless chicken thighs according to Asha Gomez.
And the final touch. A dusting of garam masala and kashmiri chili powder on the finished product. Thanks again Ugly Delicious.
I’ll never know if I got it right. Her restaurant is closed now. Sad. But at least I have this. And so do you.
KFC. First there was Kentucky. Then came Korean. Now there’s Kerala fried chicken. Kentucky is not my favourite. But it’s a real toss up between Korean and Kerala.
kerala fried chicken
- 2 cups cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 3 finger hot green chilies or serranos/jalapenos
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 inch fresh ginger - chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp black salt - optional but tasty if you can get it
- 2 tbsp kosher salt - or 1 1/2 tbsp regular salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
kerala fried chicken
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp curry powder - I use Madras
- 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- oil to deep fry - about a gallon
- 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- liquid coconut oil
- curry leaves - optional but again, really tasty
- Combine all the marinade ingredients except the buttermilk in a blender.
- Add about 1/4 cup buttermilk and puree. If it won't go (it can be difficult to get it started) add a bit more buttermilk.
- Transfer the puree to a container with a lid large enough to hold the chicken as well. Add the remaining buttermilk and stir to combine.
- Add the chicken and stir to mix. Refrigerate 18-24 hours.
Kerala fried chicken
- Prep your garnish. Combine the chili powder, garam masala and salt. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 275F.
- Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, curry powder, chili powder and salt. Mix well.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot. You want the oil at least a few inches below the top. The chicken will bubble up and you don't want to burn the house down.
- Regulate the heat to maintain the oil temperature at 350F. This is a pain. Be ready for it...
- If using curry leaves, fry them briefly in the hot oil. Fried curry leaves are really good. I did not know that myself until I tried figuring out this recipe.
- Shake of the excess buttermilk marinade. Dredge no more than 4 pieces of chicken in the flour mixture.
- Deep fry the chicken no more than 4 pieces at a time. Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 175F. This takes about 5 minutes. If you go a little over 175F don't worry. Buttermilk brine makes this recipe forgiving if you overshoot.
- Put the first pieces of chicken on a wire rack on a baking sheet and place the oven while you cook the remaining chicken.
- To serve drizzle the chicken with the liquid coconut oil. Sprinkle with the garam masala mixture. Garnish with fried curry leaves.
23 thoughts on “kerala fried chicken”
Hi.First off, let’s just say that we never have takeaways any more because these curries are THE BEST, so thankyou for that! Quick question about this recipe. Americas test kitchen has a fried chicken recipe (easier fried chicken) where the chicken is first fryed in a deep frying pan on both sides for about 4 mins to get the crunch and then finished of in the oven to cook through. Less hassle,smoke and smell than a deep fat fryer! I wonder if this method would work here? Any thoughts? Going to try this weekend. Thanks!
Delighted to hear from you!
I am not sure I found the right video (I saw one where the skillet goes in the oven still in the skillet). The one I found looked a bit like shake and bake chicken so probably not. Generally I find America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated to be solid although less so since Chris Kimball left. I only tested this one the hard way (deep fried). It is fundamentally fried chicken though so if a recipe/technique makes good fried chicken it should make good Kerala fried chicken.
We love this recipe although I wonder if the salt amount is correct in the marinade. The first time we made it, it was unbearably salty (this coming from a salt lover). We retried using 1 tsp of sea salt and it is so much better. Wondering if 2tbsp is perhaps a typo?
I’m a little confused. It is in the marinade. The marinade is discarded so I’m not sure what happened to you. Note that kosher salt and sea salt are very different things. Maybe the saltiness is coming in later?
It was very helpfu, thank you. But Asha Gomez clearly says that, after adding the coconut oil, she sprinkles the garam masala mixture, chilli and salt. You forgot about the chilli powder. Excellent work, nevertheless.
Not sure I understand your comment. Kashmiri chili powder, garam masala and salt are all listed in the garnish section of the recipe? I watched the episode 20 times:-)
I have seen it in India. Ive seen it it Kollam in Kerala and also had it on the Kerala Express train from Delhi to Trivandrum (52 hours) where it was served up by the catering car. I’ve had it a couple of times on that train infact.
Awesome to hear. It exists!!!
Sounds awesome, but as I am not a very big friend of frying, do you think it could also work in the oven? I have some drumsticks. What temperature and for how long, do you reckon?
Hello, im a new cook. I’m a little bit confused. Do you bake first and fry the chicken? Or you have the option on fry or bake it? Thanks
This is fried chicken. There is no baking involved. The 275F oven is a place to put your chicken to keep it piping hot while you cook the second batch. Don’t make the mistake of trying to fry it all at once unless you have a very large deep frying set up. The oil will cool too much if you add too much chicken at first.
I am quarantine cooking with limited ingredients but I still made this totally rock using your recipe as a place to start. I substituted sour cream for the buttermilk. No Cilantro, a few leaves of mint. I used a giant spoonful of Gochuchang and one jalepeno in the marinade, lots of ginger. I’m out of flour so I used arrowroot powder (!), curry, three types of chili powder, cumin, turmeric. It was so very, very delicious.
Awesome. Way to make it your own!
thank you for working this out! it was the one fried chicken I wanted to try from that show…the coconut oil drizzle!
Hope you love it. I do!
Yup. Fried chicken – guilty pleasure as well haha! I swear I crave it once a week – there goes my waistline! I love the added flavours and spices you added to the crunchies! Flavour punches in the face is always awesome and also another guilty pleasure of mine! haha! 😀
When it’s done well, fried chicken is so good. Kerala fried chicken is just another way for me to eat too much fried chicken!
Next time, I would like to try what your photo suggests. Is that naan at the bottom, sliced red onion, romaine lettuce underneath? With lime that would be awesome.
It was actually a parotta on some Indian inspired slaw with a yoghurt based dressing (don’t remember what I did exactly) but your way sounds really good too.
So here’s the self-made dinner I’m just finishing: my first every try at Kerala Fried Chicken mashing up your recipe with my 20+ some odd views of Asha’s Ugly Delicious segment (which is totally different than her Curry + Cornbread YouTube Video she did herself, which totally proves your point),and, this other recipe (which too is very different from the UD segment in the exact ways you described!) [https://www.tastecooking.com/kerala-fried-chicken-asha-gomez/]. My changes were that I used 20 cloves of garlic and 6 fingerhot chilis plus a lot more fresh cilantro (because I like it) and fresh mint, plus a container of 0% Fage Greek Yogurt I had on hand. I couldn’t wait anymore and cooked 4 thighs of the 12 I have in the marinade after just 14 hours. I also made a version of your bengali mansoor dal – I only had brown whole lentils on hand and grape tomatoes, but otherwise made it. And, rounded out my plate with a spring mix + baby spinach salad with sliced carrots, one sliced mini red pepper and sliced greenhouse cukes. I wish I had some wine with this. This was AMAZING. Here is a great Indian food wine pairing page [https://winefolly.com/tutorial/pairing-wine-with-indian-cuisine/ ]- I just had the perfect Gamay last Tuesday night that would have gone with this amazingly well. Thank you for your site – I’ll be making a lot from it & sharing with friends.
Angela – that is just such an awesome comment. Thanks for taking the time to write it. Sounds like you had an epic dinner! That’s a great link you shared as well. I had never seen it before. I will start trying out the suggestions.
This sounds so so good! Love the flavors in the dredge!
The marinade along with the dredge is what makes this recipe work. I love southern fried chicken but when you add South Indian flavours you get something really good. South meets South India!