We wondered how Chicken & Waffles would go over in India, but it went over really well.
Chicken is a primary protein option in the country where 38% of the population is still strictly vegetarian and beef is legally restricted. Most commonly, stewed and tandoori style chicken grace Indian tables, with spice blends and preparation styles varying widely from region to region.
When we were in India with the Southern United States Trade Association, pork, duck and quail were largely missing from the menus we saw, with lamb available as a distant second to chicken on most menus with some turkey and seafood in the mix. Everything else was vegetarian.
Luckily, our healthy, flavorful U.S. chicken became available in India recently through a new export partnership led by the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council. Based on the feedback chefs gave us, the boneless chicken thigh meat seems to be the favorite with the Indian culinary community so far!
Teaching Next Generation Chefs Using Southern Ingredients
During our trip, Andy taught chefs and chefs in training his favorite fail-proof twists on two basic chicken techniques, largely “new” to India: fried chicken and grilled chicken (on a Weber Grill). If you’ve grown up in the Southern U.S., these options are on every corner – but not so in India.
But they’ve heard about it – and they loved it!
In teaching Southern cuisine in a foreign land, one has to be cognizant of product availability in that market as well as opportunities to bring in new products. For chefs who are accustomed to cooking an ingredient in an entirely different way in a different cultural context – foolproof recipes and cooking techniques are a must! Once they master the basics, they, like all chefs, can be creative and spread their wings (no pun intended!).
Pecan Crusted “Southern Fried” Chicken
Following is the recipe for Pecan Crusted “Southern Fried” Chicken as taught to final year culinary students at both Amity University’s School of Hospitality in Noida, India as well as final year students at the International Institute for Culinary Arts (IICA) in Delhi, India. The IICA students standardized the recipe in metric measurements, and we are happy to provide that version upon request.
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RECIPE: Southern Pan-Fried Pecan Crusted Chicken
What I love about this recipe is that it can be tweaked to be the perfect flavor for any palate. You can add more seasoning for a more intense spice, if you are serving an audience that will appreciate that, or you can dial it back a bit and have something even a picky child will appreciate.
For this recipe, we are going to pair this with a Southern U.S. tradition, chicken and waffles, but make a spicy chicken over a Two Brooks Farms Brown Rice Flour waffle then served with your favorite sauces; we’ve shared a few of our favorite suggestions below.
USA Boneless Chicken Thighs, cut into large strips
Flour Dredge (take the following ingredients in a medium bowl):
1 Cup White Flour
1 TBSP Salt
1 TSP Baking Soda
1 TBSP Black Pepper
Egg Mixture (combine in a medium bowl):
1/3 Cup Milk or 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
Breading Mix (combine the following ingredients in a medium bowl):
1 TBSP Olde Virden’s Tennessee Pepper Co. Red Pepper Blend (add more to personal preference)
1 1/3 Georgia Pecan Meal
1 TBSP mL Paprika
1 TBSP of Lemon Zest (approximately one small lemon’s zest)
2 TSP Salt
Waffles (we to prepare Belgian Style homemade with Two Brooks Rice Flour)
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Next, roll the chicken in the flour dredge, buttermilk and egg mixture then finally, dredge in the pecan flour mixture. Place the strips on a sheet tray to hold. You can pre-bread all of them, and then pan fry in big batches fairly quickly.
In a medium high skillet, heat enough pecan oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. I prefer to use a large cast iron skillet that holds heat well and won’t lose heat when you add several strips at once.
Place the strips in the skillet, turning gently when you see the edges turn brown. Cook until all sides are golden brown. Place on rack to drain any excess oil. Serve with drizzle of your choice of jams, fruit syrups or pecan pieces. We prefer the sweet / spicy punch of Hornsby Farms Blueberry Jalapeno Jam as well as the citrusy sweetness of the Florida Georgia Citrus Satsuma Syrup sprinkled with Georgia Pecan pieces from growers like Ganas Farms or Sunnyland Farms. If a savory flavor is more your style, try drizzling this entree with Sugar Taylor Sauce.