This recipe is very nostalgic for me. When I was growing up, this was one of my mother’s top recipes. She would make it two or three times a week and I’m sorry to say that I took it totally for granted as a child. It wasn’t until I went to university and later moved to London that a I realised that I was sorely in need of a delicious, homely, healthier-than-you’d-think Chicken and Rice dish.
For a long time this space was filled by my best Jerk Chicken, Rice and Peas but, in an effort to visit chicken dishes across the world, CB and I have decided to branch out. After all, a girl is nothing without a chicken trick up her sleeve. Enter: Mandi’s (mum’s) best pan fried chicken.
The mix of spices might not be what you’re used to but it works so well. It hits all of the different parts of your tongue, in exactly the right order, in exactly the right amounts. The skin is so crisp, and the meat so succulent.
You’ll wonder why you’ve ever bothered with deep fried chicken.
You’re going to scan down the ingredients list and think this is a lot of work: don’t. These spices are all common and I just use the same ones throughout the cooking process. I should also address the matter of the all purpose seasoning. If you look in your local supermarket, you’ll see lots of different brands and versions of this. With a little time and patience, you should experiment and find your favourite. I tend to use it as a flavour base for chicken – before adding anything else, I add all purpose seasoning. Whatever else happens, my chicken flavouring is always on point. Get involved! If you need some tips, these are my favourite ones: Knorr Aromatt , Goya Adobo.
I serve this with a lightly spiced rice and a gravy made from the crunchy chicken bits at the bottom of the pan and a side salad. It takes a bit of time (how my mum whipped this together in 30 minutes, I’ll never know) but it’s a great alternative to a Sunday roast and is incredibly easy.
Enough chicken pieces to feed four. I usually budget 3-4 pieces per person, a mixture of thighs and drumsticks
3/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder
3/4 tsp everyday seasoning
Salt to taste (don’t go crazy, all purpose normally has some salt in it too)
2 tsp vegetable oil (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp all purpose
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp hot chilli powder
3 small- medium tomatoes, finely diced
1 small-medium onion, finely diced
1/4 chicken or vegetable stock cube or stock pot.
1-2 tsp gravy granules to taste
Cornstarch/flour to thicken
Brown or white rice for four (250-300g)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp all purpose
1/8 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs (or just use some dried basil or parsley if you don’t have mixed herbs)
1/2 tsp of vegetable oil
- Mix all the chicken seasoning together in a small bowl. The oil is optional as at this point I sometimes turn it into a paste before covering the chicken with it but it also works perfectly fine without. Either way you will be able to drain the excess oil off at a later process. Cover the chicken with the dry or wet seasoning.
- Place the chicken pieces flat in a heavy bottomed pan (don’t resist these pans, mine was £15 from Wilkinsons and I haven’t looked back) which has been heated to a medium-low heat. As a guide, I use the biggest ring on our stove and keep it at the lowest possible temperature which is still plenty hot enough. Don’t and any extra oil. This will slowly start to gently fry, even if you’ve used the dry seasoning as the skin has enough fat to get things going. Let this cook, without turning it for 20 minutes. Then take a look at one of the pieces and it should be a nice golden brown colour.
- Begin turning the meat every 15-20 minutes until it’s been cooking for 50 minutes to an hour. The aim is to make sure that everything is cooked through and that there is an even crispy ness on all sides of the chicken. This is crucial.
- While the chicken is cooking, make your rice. Put the rice in a pot, with the listed spices and the oil and turn the stove on to a medium heat. Soon the rice will be gently sautéing and you’ll smell the spices roasting. Stir constantly for about one minute. Then add water and cook as per pack instructions (try to use the absorption method – this makes amazing rice every time guaranteed) .
- Once the chicken is cooked (cut close to the bone in the biggest piece to check – it takes longer than you would think sometimes), put it in a kitchen paper lined bowl and into the oven on the lowest possible temperature to keep it warm. Mark my words, this chicken just isn’t the same if you have to microwave it so just keep it hot in the first place.
- For the gravy, drain away all but one tsp of fat from your pan and ensure that you also keep the sticky crunchy chicken bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and spices and stir for a minute, then add your diced fresh tomatoes. Let this bubble away for another five minutes until the tomatoes start breaking down.
- Add 1/4 of a stock cube or a stock pot and a cup of boiling water to the gravy and stir until the stock dissolves. Bring to a gentle simmer and taste. If it’s salty enough, add a little flour/cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the gravy up. If it could do with more salt, add some gravy granules – these will also thicken your gravy. Cook for five more minutes until you’ve reached your desired consistency (add a little more water if it gets too thick).
- Serve the chicken next to a bed of rice which I always drown in gravy and with a lovely big fresh salad.