This month Jane from Always Ravenous is hosting the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers for a fun look at California food and wine pairings. She's calling the theme: Tasting California: Cookbook Tour paired with California Wines. Initially she wanted us to work with What’s Gaby Cooking: Eat What You Want: 125 Recipes for Real Life by Gaby Dalkin, but the book isn't released until next month; in any case, you can read Jane's invitation post: here.
My official event post will be coming out later this week, but I decided to do some bonus California pours. And I had a 2018 Castle Rock Rosé of Pinot Noir from Monterey County in the fridge. I decided to make an Indian-spiced fried chicken. I'll get to that in a bit.
In the Glass
At just over $10 a bottle, this wine easily qualifies as an everyday sipper. It boasts a beautiful salmon color. Additionally, its herbal aroma and medium body make it an incredibly satisfying pour. The texture was smooth with just enough acid to balance a spicier, heavy meal.
Castle Rock Winery is based in Geyserville, but sources its grapes from all around the state. The Pinot Noir used in this wine is from Monterey County. Last year's vintage was from Mendocino County.
On My Plate
As I was making this, my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf came in an commented, "You never make fried chicken, Mom. What's the occasion?" I make chicken. "Yes, but you never actually fry it. You always bake it." That's true.
You can see a baked version I make for my Chicken and Waffles.
The Precise Kitchen Elf was passing by the kitchen, heard the exchange, and piped up, "Remember, she just watched that episode about fried chicken on Ugly Delicious!"
They know me pretty well. In any case, if you're unfamiliar, Ugly Delicious is a Netflix original series that has Chef David Chang combining travel, cooking, and history. Each episode highlights a single dish or concept and explores how it differs regional or how it has evolved. I've always enjoyed Chang's commentary and adventures since I watched Season 1 of Mind of a Chef.
Season two of Ugly Delicious was just released. I think that's why it popped up in my suggested titles last week. But, as I hadn't watched season one, I binged several episodes this weekend, one of which turned its eyes towards fried chicken. A large part of the show (Season One, Episode Six) was actually quite heavy and uncomfortable by showing how fried chicken is inextricably linked to a racist stereotype in America. Along side the social commentary, however, is always some really delicious-looking food.
I was inspired to try my hand at Asha Gomez' Kerala fried chicken. I was intrigued that, unlike all the other versions we saw, hers used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. In the show, she's cooking for Chang and says, “Every time I make this fried chicken, people tend to think it’s my Southern-American influence, and I have to let them know that every culture figured out that if you dredge the bird in flour and deep fry it that it was probably going to be good.”
The show doesn't share any recipes, but I knew it was buttermilk-soaked, Indian-spiced, dredged, fried, and then drizzled with coconut oil and sprinkled with garam masala. So, I gave it a whirl.
- 2 T cardamom seeds
- 1 to 2 T coriander seeds
- 1 T black cumin seeds
- 2 t brown mustard seeds
- 1 T black peppercorns
- 15 to 20 cloves
- 1 dried chile, stemmed, seeded and crumbled
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 t freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 T garam masala + more for sprinkling
- 2 C buttermilk
- 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 to 3 C flour
- oil for frying
- 2 T coconut oil, melted
- large flake sale for serving
- mango chutney (or your favorite chutney)
- coleslaw or salad on the side
Combine all of the ingredients, except the ground nutmeg, in a medium skillet . Over medium heat, toast the spices for approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool until you can bear to touch them. Once cool, add the toasted mixture and nutmeg into a spice grinder; I use an old coffee grinder. Process you get a fine powder, approximately 1 minute. Use right away or store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Place chicken in a dish where each piece is flat and sprinkle with 3 T garam masala. Massage the spices into the meat on both sides. Let stand for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Pour buttermilk over the chicken and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
When ready to fry the chicken, fill a large cast-iron skillet (I use my Le Creuset braiser which is cast iron covered with enamel) with 1" of oil. Heat gently over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F.
Beat the eggs in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish.
While the oil is heating, remove the chicken from the marinade and gently shake off the excess.
Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, coating thoroughly. Dip it in the beaten egg. Then return it to the flour to get a nice thick coating.
Once the oil reaches temperature, carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. Try not to crowd the pan; I did three thighs at a time.
Cook the chicken until it is deep golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes on each side, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F.
Drain the chicken on the paper towel-lined plate or a cooling rack. To finish, drizzle each piece with 1 t melted coconut oil. Sprinkle each piece with a pinch more of garam masala and some salt.