Fried chicken is one of the most celebrated soul food out there. Since June is National Soul Food Month, we thought it will be a good idea to share with you 5 steps that will help you make healthy fried chicken starting today.
Step 1: Choose chicken breasts over drumsticks.
Drumsticks are the traditional and most common cut for fried chicken. While you can always choose your favorite cut of the bird, chicken breasts are ideal. Breasts are the leanest cut of chicken and one breast can make up to 3 pieces of fried chicken. Skin and the fat between the skin and the mean are also easiest to remove.
Tip: If you are making fried chicken as snack or appetizer rather than as a main dish, you can make fried chicken strips or fried chicken pops instead.
Step 2: Update your marinade
Buttermilk marinade tenderizes the meat making it easy for flavors from your spices to seep into the tissues better. Update your marinade by substituting buttermilk with Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Just whisk a cup of Greek yogurt and lemon juice until smooth.
Tip: Want your fried chicken to have that light texture? Use Panko breadcrumbs instead of regular bread crumbs.
Step 3: Shallow-fry. Don't deep fry.Baking is a healthy alternative to making fried chicken. It does not use as much oil as when you deep fry chicken but it gives you the same crispy and tender outcome. However, if you really want to fry chicken to make fried chicken, then shallow-fry. Here is a quick guide to making shallow-fried chicken that's crispy outside but tender and tasty inside.
- Start the stove on medium heat.
- Once your oil is hot enough, lay chicken pieces. Be sure not to overcrowd your pan.
- With the pan lid on, cook the chicken for about 10 mins.
- Remove the lid, flip the chicken. No need to replace the lid after this point.
- Turn up the heat and cook for about 8 more mins or until the chicken is a nice golden brown.
Perfect your shallow-fried chicken with the Cleverona Nonstick Fry Pan with SecureSnap Detachable Handle and the Cleverona Clever Lid.
Step 4: Forget the paper towel. Use a wire rack.
Once your fried chicken is done, transfer them to a wire rack to drain excess oil and rest. Compared to paper towels, drained excess oil will not be in contact with the chicken. This way, oil won't soak up and seep back into the meat. A wire rack also allows the residual heat from the chicken to escape.
Tip: Set your wire rack over a baking tin that is around 2-inch deep. This way there will be a 2-inch gap between the meat and the surface of the tin allowing air to circulate better. With heat and excess oil gone, you will not have to worry about serving soggy fried chicken.
Step 5: Complement your fried chicken with sides that are just as healthy
While your fried chicken can stand alone at this point, complementing it with a healthy side will give it more "soul". Below are 3 sides you will find on the typical Southern soul food plate. Of course, all 3 of them with a healthy twist.
If you can't have fried chicken unless it comes with coleslaw for a side, this recipe by Kristine of Kristine's Kitchen Blog is a must-try. It will keep you on the healthy "side".
Who would have thought that guacamole on your Mac and Cheese will make it even more creamy? Try it for yourself here.
"Just like the classic steakhouse creamed spinach but it uses shredded collard greens for a new twist," - Christine Pittman. Bet you'll love this as a fried chicken side as much as you love collard greens the traditional way!