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Ginger-Basil Fried Chicken

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1 whole chicken (2 ½ lbs is ideal)** (See Tip for more information)

Red Boat Buttermilk Brine:
2 tablespoons Red Boat Fish Sauce
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup Thai basil leaves
1-inch ginger segment
1 shallot
4 cloves garlic

Seasoned Flour Mixture:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon Red Boat Salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
lard or a frying oil with a high smoke point (grapeseed, coconut, or peanut)


Day 1:
1. Prepare the Red Boat salt-buttermilk brine: Add buttermilk, egg, basil, ginger, shallot, garlic, and Red Boat salt into a blender. Blend until buttermilk mixture is smooth.
2. Cut chicken into 10 parts: 2 wings, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and 4 breasts (cut in half).
3. Put chicken pieces in a large storage bag. Add the Red Boat buttermilk brine. Remove excess air from the bag and seal. Massage the brine into the chicken.
4. Place the bag onto a baking sheet and let the chicken brine overnight in the refrigerator.

Day 2:
1. In a large mixing bowl, prepare the seasoned flour mixture: Combine all-purpose flour, rice flour, Red Boat salt, black pepper, and baking powder. Whisk well to insure all the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
2.  Quickly remove chicken pieces from the brine and roll them in the seasoned flour. Don’t worry about draining the chicken before putting it into flour. You want the excess brine to clump in the flour and create a shaggy crust. Use both hands to press in the flour into the chicken. Place chicken on a baking sheet and let the coating set for 20 minutes.
3.  Fill a deep cast iron skillet halfway with frying oil and bring oil to 325° F.
4.  Working in batches, slowly slide chicken pieces into the oil. The oil temperature will drop to around 300°, which is fine. Between 300° and 325° F is the ideal temperature range for frying chicken. Don’t crowd the skillet or the oil temperature will drop too much and the chicken won’t fry properly.
5.  Fry chicken for 5 minutes, flip, and fry for another 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and fry for another 2 minutes.
6.  Use a thermometer to check the chicken has reached a temperature of 165° F.
7.  Transfer chicken to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack.
8.  Let drain for 5 minutes before serving.

TIP: Choose a small bird, which will cook through in a shorter amount of time, resulting in juicier fried chicken.


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