Recipe: Fried buttermilk chicken

THERE SEEMS TO be a waft of fried chicken recipes circulating TV land at the moment.  I wonder why nobody has set up a street food stall at one of Edinburgh's farmers' markets, it would make a killing, don't you think? Marinating the chicken in buttermilk is the key to this one, it tenderises the meat and keeps it moist during cooking.  Here is my version of this awesome offering.

I always favour thighs over chicken breast.  They have far more flavour and are considerably cheaper, and although there is a little butchery required in this recipe, it's well worth the hassle.  It's crucial to leave the chicken in the buttermilk for a good 24 hours beforehand. I love keeping the skin of the thighs and crisping them up in the oven.  Just lay the skins flat on a baking tray and place a sheet of greaseproof paper over the top. Pop that in the oven (180C) for about 15 minutes and you'll have a crispy chicken snack that is simply irresistible.

This pocket-friendly dish will keep for a couple of days and is deal for freezing, too.  I made a chilli and garlic mayo to dip these delightful morsels into, but you could also chop them up in a tortilla wrap with the sauce and some salad for a tasty lunch or dinner.  Happy cooking!

Ingredients (serves four):

8x free-range chicken thighs, skinned, boned and cut in half
300mls buttermilk
2tbsp smoked paprika
2tsp dried thyme
2tsp dried oregano
Zest and juice of a lemon
150g plain flour
150g panko breadcrumbs
50g grated parmesan cheese
Sea salt
White pepper


1) Skin and bone the chicken thighs.  Depending on size, cut them into equal chunks.  Place the chicken, buttermilk and lemon juice in a bowl and mix until chicken in coated. Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

2) Turn on your deep fat fryer to 180C.  In a large food bag, place the flour, paprika, lemon zest, thyme, oregano, parmesan and seasoning.  Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate.

3) Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and pop into the bag.  Toss vigourously to coat in the flour mix.  Once coated, place the chicken back in the buttermilk, then into the breadcrumbs and toss to coat.  The key to this is to use one hand to coat in the buttermilk, the other to coat with the breadcrumbs.

4) Next, place the chicken piece by piece into the fryer.  Make sure to place the chicken in away from you to avoid splashing the hot oil.  You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your fryer.  Cook for 5-6 mins until the pieces start to float slightly.  Pop onto some kitchen paper when done.

5) Serve with a few different dips of your choice and a fresh salad.