This crispy masala fried chicken is an Indian twist on classic buttermilk fried chicken. Flavoured with herbs and spices like garam masala, ginger, chilli and fresh mint, this recipe is up there with one of our favourite indulgent dinners.
How to make masala fried chicken
Brine the chicken
This recipe starts with brining the boneless chicken thighs. Simply combine the brining ingredients in a bowl, add the chicken and refrigerate overnight. We like to brine the chicken for 24 hours so that the meat can absorb as much flavour as possible and become super tender.
The base of the brine is made with buttermilk. You can buy buttermilk in most good supermarkets but we always make our own because it’s easy-peasy. Simply combine whole milk with lemon juice, mix well and there you have it. We use this BBC Good Food recipe for the quantities.
Coat the chicken
Next up is coating the chicken ready for frying. In this recipe the coating is made by combining plain flour with garam masala, chilli powder and salt.
One piece at a time, remove the chicken from the brine and coat well in the flour mixture. Ensure you press the flour into the meat to cover it completely. Shake off excess. You could stop here but we like to double up on the coating for extra crunch and really succulent chicken. One piece at a time, re-dip the chicken into the brining liquid and coat in the flour for a second time. Shake off excess and set aside on a wire rack.
Fry the chicken
Deep fry the chicken for 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy, ensuring the chicken is fully cooked. We fry one chicken thigh at a time so not to overcrowd the pan.
Tips on how to make the ultimate fried chicken
Brine the chicken overnight – Ideally you want to marinate the chicken in the brining liquid in the fridge overnight. This tenderises the chicken and packs it with all the flavour from the herbs and spices.
Double coat the chicken – If you want REALLY crispy chicken (who doesn’t?!), double coat the chicken with the brine and flour. This will form a crust on the chicken, resulting in extra crunchyness and super succulent meat.
Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before frying – This will help the chicken to cook quickly and evenly.
Make sure the oil is hot – Before frying, check if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small piece of the coating from the chicken into the oil. If the coating bubbles and begins to fry then you’re good to go!
Don’t overcrowd the pan – If you add too many pieces of chicken to the pan, the temperature will reduce too much and the chicken will become soggy. You also risk spilling the hot oil.
What to serve with masala fried chicken
Like most fried chicken recipes, you can’t beat a portion of chips on the side. However, we don’t always opt for chips. Instead, we like to make a healthy simple slaw to cut through the chicken with some freshness.
In terms of sauces, we like a spicy sriracha dip or a cool garlic mayonnaise, but go for whatever takes your fancy!
Masala fried chicken
- 4 boneless chicken thighs
For the brine
- 300 ml buttermilk
- 4 cm ginger grated
- 3 cloves garlic grated
- 1/2 green or red chilli grated
- 1 handful fresh mint chopped
- 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp salt
For the coating
- 200 grams plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp garam malasa
- 1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
For deep frying
- vegetable oil
For the brine
- Add the 'brine' ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and cover with the brine. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge an hour before frying.
For the coating
- Add the 'coating' ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. 1 piece at a time, remove the chicken from the brine and coat well in the flour mixture. Ensure you press the flour into the meat to cover it completely. Shake off excess.
- 1 piece at a time, re-dip the flour coated chicken in to the brining liquid. Coat the chicken in the spiced flour mixture for a second time. Shake off excess and set aside on a wire rack.
For deep frying
- Once the chicken has been double coated in the flour mixture, heat approximately 4 inch vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. You can test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small piece of the coating from the chicken into the oil. The coating will bubble and begin to fry.
- Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes per side, until golden brown and the meat is cooked through. Remove the chicken, place on wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve hot and enjoy!