Country fried chicken made well is a comfort food for many around the world.
The most popular fast food outlets globally are those that serve fried chicken.
A universally beloved food, fried chicken has inspired an international consumer to order it more than beef or lamb.
Probably the most famous fried chicken recipes today are those that originate from the US South.
What is Country Fried Chicken?
This is a type of chicken preparation with its origins in the fusion of European and African cuisines.
Chicken smothered in a batter of flour, water, and unique herbs and spices, cooked by deep frying.
Other common wet ingredients are made utilizing a beer or buttermilk mixture.
The end result is an absolutly delicious crispy golden brown batter on the outside with a tender bit of chicken on the inside.
The most popular chicken pieces are the chicken breasts, and drum sticks.
Often served with mashed potatoes, country gravy and green beans.
How to Make Country Fried Chicken
I like to use the plastic (or paper) bag method to shake my chicken in; it gives the chicken an even coating.
Mix all the dry ingredients together and put them in a bag big enough to shake the chicken pieces in.
Then whisk together the buttermilk and the eggs and set aside.
Place a cast iron pan with oil for frying over the heat, and bring to 350ºF for deep frying.
I like to use a cast iron skillet but you can use any thick bottomed pan.
Dip the chicken parts in the wet ingredients, and get them well soaked.
Place the chicken pieces in the bag, and shake until they are well coated with the flour mixture.
Once the oil has reached the correct temperature, place each piece in the oil and allow to cook, turning once.
Once fried, and cooked through, remove from the oil and set on a parchment paper, or paper towel lined tray.
Also this batter works really well when making chicken fried steak.
History of Fried Chicken in The Americas
Fried chicken can be traced back to Scottish and West African cuisines in the southern United States.
African slaves in the American South employed Scottish frying skills, and African seasoning techniques.
Fritters, which were popular in the European Middle Ages, are said to be the earliest deep-fried dish.
The Scottish, on the other hand, were the first Europeans to deep fry chicken in fat (though without seasoning).
Meanwhile, many West Africans had seasoned fried chicken, where they used to batter it, before cooking it in palm oil.
Enslaved and separated African-American women became noted vendors of chickens (live or cooked) as early as the 1730s.
Providing them with some means of self-sufficiency.
The high cost of the ingredients made this an uncommon meal in the African-American community.
Only being offered at special occasions just like it was in Africa.
Lard was used in practically all types of cookery in early American dishes.
It was a key ingredient in many typical household foods (many of which are still considered holiday and comfort foods today).
All kinds of baked goods relied on lard as the fat binding the flour, such as with biscuits and pie crusts.
The economic and caloric requirement of eating lard, and other preserved fats may have contributed to the global appeal of fried dishes.
Then cast iron became commonly available for cooking in the nineteenth century, making cooking over an open flame easier.
The beginning of today’s fried chicken was a mixture of flour, fat, chicken, and a hefty pan placed over a somewhat controllable flame.
Fried chicken became a popular dish in the American South once the recipe and process was solidified.
Domesticating the Chicken
A definitive answer on when and where the chicken was domesticated is still a questionable issue.
However, it is thought that chickens were domesticated 8,000 years ago in Southeast Asia.
This according to genomic studies, which also showed that the fowl ended up in China and India two to three thousand years later.
Domestic chickens were present in Southeast Asia well before 6000 BC, China by 6000 BC, and India by 2000 BC, according to archeological data.
According to a major 2020 Nature study that sequenced 863 hens from around the world.
It was found that all domestic chickens are descended from a single domestication event of red junglefowl.
These are currently found primarily in southern China, northern Thailand, and Myanmar.
Interbreeding with local junglefowl species, the domestic chicken generated genetically, and geographically diverse populations.
Chicken remains from the Middle East date back to around 2000 BC in Syria.
In around 1400 BC, the chicken arrived in Egypt for the purpose of cockfighting, and they were only widely bred in Ptolemaic Egypt (about 300 BC).
Chickens were transported around the Mediterranean as far as Iberia by the Phoenicians.
And then around 800 BC, the first chickens made their way to Europe.
Domestic chicken in the Americas prior to Western contact is still a topic of debate.
Although blue-egged hens, which are found solely in the Americas and Asia, indicate that early American chickens were Asian in origin.
Some Other Varieties of Fried Chicken
Crispy, flavorful fried chicken is popular all across the world, and each country has its own take on it.
Each country has it’s own popular fried chicken recipe, where different seasonings mixes are used.
Some countries like South Korea actually fry the chicken twice to make it even crispier.
“Chongqing chicken” is a Chinese dish that consists of wok-fried chicken with ginger, onions, and chilis.
The popular yassa poulet in Senegal takes more than a day to cook.
The chicken is marinated in peanut oil, lemon juice, and cider vinegar for up to 24 hours, along with a mountain of onions, mustard, and other spices.
It’s then pan-fried until crispy and golden, then left to simmer until juicy and tender in the delicious marinade, and served with white rice.
An Interesting Christmas Custom in Japan
Surprisingly in Japan, every Christmas season, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families indulge in what has become a national tradition: Kentucky Fried Chicken.
This tradition started with Takeshi Okawara, the manager of the country’s first KFC, soon after it opened in 1970.
He came up with the idea of a “party barrel” that would be marketed during the Christmas season.
Okawara felt that a fried chicken supper and Party Barrel would be a great way to commemorate Christmas.
And Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii, or Kentucky for Christmas, was KFC’s nationwide marketing campaign in 1974.
It grew in popularity quickly, and the Christmas Party Barrel became a nationwide sensation almost instantly.
A Little More About Southern Fried Chicken
Africans were transported to work on southern plantations as a result of the slave trade.
And slaves who became cooks added familiar seasonings and spices that were not present in traditional Scottish food, improving the flavor.
After the end of slavery, American-style fried chicken became popular as a traditional Southern meal, and its popularity grew.
Particularly in the small village of Gordonsville, Virginia, where it became regarded as the “Fried Chicken Capital of the World” in the late 1800s.
It commemorates this distinction by holding an annual fried chicken festival on the third Saturday in May.
During the twentieth century, chain restaurants specializing in fried chicken arose from the fast food industry’s boom.
Kentucky Fried Chicken, Popeyes, and Bojangles grew in popularity in the United States and around the world.
Albaik, a Saudi fast food business, has also made chicken popular throughout the Arab world.
Country Fried Chicken (Crispy & Easy)
- 6 Whole Chicken Legs about 2lbs
- 2½ cups Flour
- 1½ tbsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 2 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1½ cups Buttermilk
- 2 Eggs
- Vegetable Oil for frying
- Mix the flour, salt, garlic powder, cayenne, black pepper, and baking powder in a bowl.
- Pour the dry mixture into a bag big enough to shake the chicken pieces in, then set aside.
- Combine the buttermilk and eggs in a separate bowl, and whisk well.
- Dip each chicken leg in the wet mixture, getting them well covered.
- Place the chicken pieces in the dry ingredients and shake to coat well.
- Heat oil in a shallow cast iron pan to 350-375 degrees fahrenheit.
- Fry the chicken for 10 to 12 minutes on each side until it measures an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Remove from the pan, and allow excess oil to drian on paper towels before serving.