Sunday, 23 March 2014


Would it be going too far to suggest that fried chicken was the first love of my life? Perhaps, but I can’t deny that I absolutely adored fried chicken and the very different variations that I got both in the local restaurants and at home. I loved them all. Although, I do remember the day Kentucky Fried Chicken came to Guyana, the fried chicken mother ship. In all my chubby glory I remember being really excited to finally taste that glistening fried chicken I had been salivating for on the advertisements for such a painfully long time. That’s the thing about living in a third world country in those days, and I suppose it still holds true now; you get a whole ton of foreign influence from television. In Guyana, we saw American shows and were exposed to American advertisements. The guy on the moped with the KFC bucket of fried chicken on the back looked extremely happy. There must have been something special about that chicken. The first Kentucky Fried Chicken was eventually opened adjacent to the busiest market and Bus Park in the country. The lines went around the corner in the blistering sun. Looking back now I wonder why my mother gave into my demands to endure that torture just for some fried chicken. That’s the other thing about parents in small and poor countries and households; they want their kids to have everything any other child is having. It was surely a testament to her dedication as a mother as much as it was me longing for something I deemed to be better.

My eyes peering over the new counter at the promise to come, my mother got me a bucket of hot wings of all things, not the greatest choice when one is facing blistering equatorial heat. Who cares? I got my chicken and that’s all that mattered. Life was as good as it got. We got on a minibus together, the shared public transportation of choice at the time, but in my eagerness I made sure that only half of that bucket made it home. The truth is, the wings weren’t fantastic, I could barely taste anything but the hot sauce, but in my mind I was still getting something better. I had to learn to love it to be better. Even if I didn’t think it was better, it had to be, didn’t it? It’s funny how that works. That which was guilty of as I child I get frustrated with as an adult. I hate the glorification of foreign product and have since realized how fortunate I was to live in a country at a time when almost everything you ate was made at home. Furthermore, I have a certain distaste for the term “fancy” and the eagerness with which my fellow countrymen seem to share the untruthful idea that good food needs to be “fancy”. In countries such as Guyana “foreign” often equated to “fancy”. Good food is good food, period. Food can create an experience, period. I am not implying that the setting is inconsequential, but merely that “fancy” does not equate to better. My fondness for fried chicken never went away, and in a way stands as testament of that fact. What is such a simple sandwich is texturally and flavorfully fulfilling and serves as a reminder to never forget where you came from, never forget the loves of your life as in the end, they need not be fancy to be damned amazing.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4):
·         2 chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
·         1/3 cup instant oatmeal
·         1/3 cup breadcrumbs
·         ½ teaspoon chilli powder
·         ¾ cup milk
·         2 whole eggs
·         1/3 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
·         4 poppy seed twist or other fresh bun
·         Butter
·         Handful pea shoots or other micro leaf
·         Peanut oil, enough to shallow fry
·         1/4 cup sriracha
·         1/3 cup honey
·         Juice of half a lemon
·         Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

-          Pat dry and season the chicken with salt and pepper
-          Preheat oven to 180 °C
-          Roll the chicken in the seasoned flour and dust off any excess
-          Mix the milk with the eggs and pass the chicken through this mixture quickly so as to not wash off the seasoning
-          Roll the chicken onto a plate or bowl that has a mixture of the instant oatmeal, breadcrumbs, chilli powder, and ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
-          Heat peanut oil in a non-stick pan to medium heat until first sign of smoking
-          Lay the chicken breasts in the pan and brown on each side, approximately 1 ½ minutes each side
-          Remove from the pan and place the breasts onto a lightly greased pan into the preheated oven
-          Leave for approximately 18 minutes but be mindful of cooking time depending on the size of your chicken breasts
-          Make the sauce by combining the sriracha, honey, and lemon juice in a pan at the lowest heat setting on the stove top
-          5 minutes before your finished chicken breasts are ready, halve and lightly toast each bun and butter their top sides
-          Place the bottom of each bun onto a plate and after removing and resting chicken for about 2 minutes place them on top of each bun
-          Pour over equal amounts of honey sriracha onto each chicken breast and place pea shoots on top
-          For an extra boost in visual appeal sprinkle a few poppy seeds around the bun on the empty areas of each plate
-          Cover with top bun and serve immediately

No comments:

Post a Comment