I love recipes—my apartment is overflowing with cookbooks, food magazines and recipes printed from online food sites—but I’m definitely a big improviser, barely ever following them to the letter.
A couple of nights ago, I had dinner at a nearby Indian vegetarian restaurant and brought home some leftover gobi masala—cauliflower in a light curry, one of my favorites. I wanted to make an Indian-inspired main dish to go with it, and Anjum Anand’s Oven-Fried Chile Chicken from Indian Food Made Easy fit the bill.
While Anjum’s recipe calls for bone-in chicken pieces, I had boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the fridge and wanted to put them to use instead of buying more chicken just to make this dish.
What’s great about this recipe is that it mostly calls for basic pantry ingredients. I had the Indian spice garam masala in my spice rack already, but it’s easy to find at most grocery stores. Aside from that, all of the ingredients are supermarket staples: Garlic, ginger, green chiles (you could really use any kind or none at all depending on how much heat you like), lemon, eggs, cumin, breadcrumbs (I used my trusty friend panko for extra-crispiness), salt and pepper.
I pounded out my chicken breasts with a meat mallet, going for an Indian-spiced chicken cutlet effect. First, I let them sit in Anjum’s ginger, garam masala and chile-spiked marinade—really more like a rub—for a few hours in the fridge. Then I coated each piece in egg wash and cumin-spiced breadcrumbs twice, as instructed. Any good “fried” chicken should be double-dipped to achieve that excellent crunch factor.
I shortened Anjum’s cook time to just 15 minutes, since thin chicken breasts cook much faster than bone-in pieces. The cutlets came out of the oven golden brown and still nice and juicy beneath their crisp crust. It’s not a super-spicy dish—the two green chiles (seeds removed) that I used in my marinade gave the chicken a kick, but nothing overpowering.
Served with my leftover gobi, a squeeze of lemon and some simple white rice, my improvised meal couldn’t have been easier and proved a big hit. So good, in fact, that I’m looking forward to trying the recipe again with bone-in chicken. Next time I’ll make the whole meal myself, too—Anjum’s Goan Spiced Aubergines and Gujarati Potatoes with Cashew Nuts both sound like excellent sides.
Get ideas for stocking an Indian cooking pantry here.
What’s your secret to fried chicken?