Persian fried chicken probably isn’t something you think about making for dinner every day, but once you make it you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.
I’ve had Persian grilled chicken several times when I lived in LA, but never Persian fried chicken. When I came across this recipe in The New York Times I knew I had to make it.
I know, I know, you’re probably still trying to hang onto those New Year’s resolutions, so something fried doesn’t really fit into your eating regime. Or…you don’t particularly like to fry things in your house because of the mess and the smell. Well, this recipe is worth throwing all of those things right out the window. Yes, it’s just that good. And since the exhaust fan on my cook top decided it didn’t want to work, I can totally relate to the smell in the house.
The rich flavors of this Persian chicken are off the hook! Yes, I realize that paprika isn’t really a Persian spice, but it was in the recipe and the comments on the recipe were so good I left it in there. The recipe calls to let the chicken marinate for at least 3 hours but I let mine sit overnight. This really lets all the flavors seep into the chicken and give each bite great flavor.
To serve this Persian fried chicken, just sprinkle it with some chopped walnuts and sliced lemon (for juicing over the chicken) and you’re good to go. I served mine with a simple salad and it was perfect.
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or thighs)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 1 tablespoon salt, more for sprinkling
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- In a small bowl, combine saffron with 1 tablespoon water and let soak 10 minutes.
- Pour into food processor along with the yogurt and garlic and purée until smooth.
- Place chicken in glass or ceramic bowl (not metal because the metal is reactive to the acid in the mixture and will make your chicken taste wonky); pour the yogurt mixture on top, turn to coat; cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours to overnight.
- In a large, low dish, combine flour, paprika, mint, salt and pepper.
- Heat a generous half-inch of vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or, if you don't have a frying thermometer, you can drop a piece of bread into the oil to test if the oil is ready for frying; the oil should bubble vigorously.
- Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, then fry until golden brown on both sides, about 7 minutes total for both sides when cooking chicken tenders. (The Times calls for 7 minutes per side when cooking chicken thighs) .
- Remove and drain on paper towels.
- Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately, topped with walnuts and lemon wedges.
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