I had so much fun playing with Frida Kahlo’s recipe for Double-Fried Chicken and Nut Sauce for Yahoo Food that I couldn’t help tweak it to my liking. Here’s what I came up with:
Frida Kahlo’s Double-Fried Chicken
Sweet and Spicy Peanut sauce
Adapted from Frida’s Fiestas
This is not a quick weeknight meal. There are three major steps: Making the sauce, frying the chicken the first time, and then frying it the second. Unless you relish long and arduous cooking, I say break it up: Make the sauce in advance, as much as a day or two. Round one of frying can be done ahead of time if you like, though you may sacrifice some crispness. As you near the second frying time, warm the sauce on the stove, but keep in mind that the white peanut sauce will darken from snowy white to beige if you heat it for very long.
8 chicken thighs, skin on and preferably bone-in, patted bone-dry and seasoned with salt and pepper.
salt and pepper
lard, corn or canola oil for frying
Thyme or oregano, fresh or dried (optional)
½ stick butter
6 eggs, separated
2 cups saltine or other cracker crumbs, ideally unsalted, ground fine
Ground cinnamon (optional)
Sweet and spicy Mexican peanut sauce
¾ cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup unsalted, roasted and peeled peanuts
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 thin slice sweet onion
2 T + 2 t sesame seeds
1/2 –inch piece of Mexican canela, crushed, or ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 clove or 1 pinch ground clove
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk, preferably whole
3 pickled jalapenos, stems removed
4-6 T juice from pickled jalapenos
Sweet and spicy peanut sauce
Richly sweet, with a hint of caramel, this sauce has a bright heat from the vinegar of pickled jalapenos. It draws on both Kahlo’s peanut sauce recipe and the pollo almendrado recipe of Sra. Beatríz Alonso from Oaxaca that’s included in Diana Kennedy’s My Mexico.
- Fry raisins in a little oil in a heavy skiullet., heat a little oil, and add raisins to the pan, stirring frequently until they plump up. Move to strainer. Repeat with nuts, garlic and onion.
- Add sesame seeds to the pan, toast until golden brown; transfer to small plate.
- Put stock and spices in a blender, adding the sesame bit by bit. Then add everything but the jalapenos. Taste.
- Add jalapenos and juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Fry your chicken thighs, unbattered and unfloured; I like to pan fry, but if you want to deep-fry, Epicurious has a good option here
- As chicken finishes, set on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet. Put in a 200 degree oven to keep the crust from softening.
BATTERING and SECOND FRY
- Pour oil a couple inches deep in a big, heavy skillet or dutch oven, and put an oil thermometer in. Turn heat on medium to high , depending on your stove.
- Pour the cracker crumbs into a broad, shallow dish.
- Beat the separated egg yolks until they are thick and densely foamy. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the yolks into the whites as gently as possible; the capeado should still form soft peaks.
- Coat each thigh on crac
- Using tongs, dip a crumb-coated thigh in the capeado. Turn it over several times; you want a light, airy cloud enveloping it. Run your finger around the edges, removing excess drips. Transfer to the oil.
- Working quickly, repeat with as many thighs as you can roomily fit in the pan. It should take 60-90 seconds until the submerged side of the chicken turns an appealing dark brown. When it does, turn it over and repeat.
- When both sides are deep golden brown, transfer the thigh to the cooling rack on the cookie sheet. If desired, dust the thighs lightly with cinnamon.
- Repeat with any remaining thighs.
- If making fritters, let oil come back up to 360 degrees.
- Working quickly, mix together the remaining capeado batter and leftover cracker crumbs. You want a texture that’s like mashed potatoes.
- Mix in herbs to taste; I like a couple tablespoons of dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Drop by spoonfuls into the hot oil. Do not crowd them too much; you want the oil to stay hot. When the bottom side is deep golden brown, flip.
- If the fritters are aggressively salty (possibly if you used salted crackers), counteract with anything vinegar, such as (what else) pickled jalapenos.
- If serving a group, pile the chicken in a platter, and scatter sliced pickled jalapeno chiles, carrots and onions over it. (I like the Costeña brand best.) Ditto with the fritters.
- Serve the sauce, warmed, on the side. Set out a bowl of more pickled chiles.
- If plating individually, spoon a small pool of sauce in the center of the plate.
- Place a thigh over the sauce in the center of the plate.
- Spoon more sauce over the top, making sure it drapes attractively over the chicken.
- Garnish with pickled chiles, carrots and onions.