Jalapeño Fried Chicken
I had the idea to marinate chicken in straight-up pickled jalapeños (see this copycat Chick-Fil-Gay for a pickle brine recipe!) and once that got started, it wasn’t a far leap to a Tex-Mex style fried chicken … and that means corn. To me, anyway.
I took my standard super-crispy fried chicken recipe and changed it up a little to include some masa harina in the flour dredge that adds a super crisp texture and even more than that, it adds the nice nutty sweetness of corn. (You can’t buy masa harina in quanities less than 5 pounds so if you don’t have some already, just use more flour and it’ll be fine. I don’t think cornmeal would work great, unless it was extra fine maybe?)
A few years ago I proudly overcame an aversion to eating chicken off the bone. I don’t know. I suppose as a kid growing up in the 90s eating ground beef and chicken fingers and fish sticks, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of boney meats. I got over it and can now gnaw on a bone with the best of em. But still, for weeknight fried chicken I use boneless cuts because they’re faster to cook and easier to work with. Peep this ginger fried chicken for another example.
The spiciness of jalapeño fried chicken depends (obvs) on the spiciness of your pickled jalapeños. If you’ve looked closely, you’ve seen that some brands have a “mild” and a “hot” version. Why in the hell anyone would want mild jalapeños is beyond me and I strongly suggest using hot ones for this. That way chicken is a little spicy, but really not too far into the fire. If you use mild ones, you might as well just use pickle juice, imo.Print
Jalapeño Fried Chicken
- 1 pound boneless/skinless chicken thigh or breast meat
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- cayenne pepper, if desired
- 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños with brine
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup masa harina
- 2 cups oil for frying (Canola, vegetable, peanut, corn)
- Cut the chicken into “nugget” sizes (about 1″ by 2″) and toss with salt and dry spices and garlic. Cover and refrigerate 4-12 hours.
- 30 minutes to an hour before you want to eat, pull the chicken out of the fridge and add in the yogurt or sour cream and jalapeño brine. Mix well to coat.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl with another 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Remove chicken pieces from marinade. Roll in flour mixture a few pieces at a time. Spear each chicken nugget around a jalapeño slice with a toothpick. Set on a rack to “dry”. Allow coated chicken to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. This ensures the breading will stay on.
- Heat oil to 350º F. Use a deep pot to avoid bubbling over. Oil needs to be two inches deep.
- Fry the chicken, 3-4 pieces at a time for about 4 minutes total, turning once. Keep the oil temperature between 350-370ºF. Chicken will be cooked once the exterior is a deep crisp brown.
- You will need to fry in several batches to avoid crowding the pan.
- Drain on another (clean) rack rather than paper towels to keep them crisp. Serve!