FRIED CHICKEN USING XINJIANG SPICES
While visiting Xi’an, we were reminded and introduced to the wide variety of Islamic cuisine in China—specifically that made famous by the Uyghurs. Perhaps only two street meals are more popular in Beijing than jian bing, which you can get a simple shortcut recipe for here. Both are chuan or lamb kebabs.
Though they were named after the Uyghur people, these spicy lamb skewers hail from the Xinjiang region in far northwest China. We also believed the same blend of spices would work well in our fried chicken.
This Xinjiang spice blend is so popular in Beijing and the rest of China that we were reminded why. Cumin and chili are a fantastic pairing that goes well with various meats.
The flavors of these spices (along with some of our own) were combined with crispy, juicy fried chicken for a dish that went beyond the traditional Chinese dish of yangrou chuan. Cucumber yogurt sauce added a refreshing tang.
There’s no comparison to this fried chicken that I’ve had. The Colonel, meanwhile, is enraged with resentment.
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- 10 pcs. of chicken drumsticks
- 1 tbsp. of ground cumin
- 1 tbsp. of chili powder
- 1 tbsp. of ground Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ tsp. of five spice powder
- 1 tsp. of garlic powder
- 1 ½ tsp. of salt
- ¾ tsp. of sugar
- 1 tbsp. of oil
- 1 tbsp. of shaoxing wine
- 2 tbsp. of flour
- 2 tbsp. of cornstarch
- 4 to 6 cups of peanut or vegetable oil (for frying)
- a handful of chopped cilantro
FOR THE YOGURT SAUCE:
- 1 cucumber
- 3/4 cup of plain yogurt
- 1 clove of garlic (finely minced)
- ½ tsp. of salt
- 1 tbsp. of lemon juice
- After cleaning the chicken, pat it dry with paper towels. Add 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine, salt, and spices to a bowl. To assemble, simply mash everything together with your hands. Put it in your freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight
- Refrigerated chicken should be brought to room temperature before cooking. Use your hands to combine the cornstarch and flour with the chicken.
- To make the yogurt sauce, all you need is a small bowl and a few simple ingredients. Do not take into account. Before you begin cooking the fish, heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a small saucepan or cast iron skillet. Depending on the size, it will take about 5 to 10 minutes for each batch of chicken drumsticks. Make sure the juices run clear by poking a skewer into the thickest section of a drumstick. Remove the fried chicken and place it on a platter lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Make a yogurt sauce and serve the chicken with chopped cilantro!