“I need not fear, for example, a dish of Caribbean chicken: don’t the kidnapped children tuck into fried chicken when their pirate abductors dock at Saint Lucia in Richard Hughes’s High Wind in Jamaica?”Laura Freeman, The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite
This recipe firecracker chicken because it’s crispy, and also firey-red with the paprika. It was inspired by an idea I found in Nisha Katona’s Pimp My Rice, where she uses Rice Krispies as a coating for fried chicken breasts (there is also a version of this – excellent for picnics – where cornflakes are used).
For a really healthy version of this mayonnaise-as-glue sticking a crunchy covering onto chicken technique, go to Nearly Reese Witherspoon’s Nut Crusted Chicken.
Serve with a green salad, with lots of lime-based dressing.
If there are any crumbs of Rice Krispies left at the end of the cooking process, add them at the very last minute to your green salad.
For a VERY QUICK TRUNCATED version of this, slather chicken breasts in mustard, coat in cornflakes and bake in a 180°C oven for about half an hour – until the juices run clear from the chicken.
Recipe for Firecracker fried chicken
- 100g/4 cups of Rice Krispies (you can also use cornflakes)
- 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika (or you could use Aleppo pepper or Byadgi (Kashmiri) chilli)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fresh thyme – or so – use any left over to garnish the yoghurt sauce
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt, split in two
- ¼ lime – juice and zest (use the rest to make a dressing for the green salad with 5 tbsp oil and some seasoning)
- 240ml/1 cup mayonnaise plus an additional 180ml/¾cup (one entire 430ml squeezy bottle of Hellmans’)
- 600g/1 lb 12 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts – the quality of the meat is important – get these from a good butcher if you can
- 50g/2 oz /four or so knobs of butter
- 180ml/¾cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp smoked salt
- Preheat your oven to 210°C.
- Use a silicone sheet to line a flat baking tray.
- Dry fry the cumin seeds, and crush in a pestle and mortar
- Put the Rice Krispies in a large freezer bag. Add the paprika, the crushed cumin, the smoked salt and the thyme. Hold the bag loosely and mix everything together. Then give it a couple of bashes on the worktop to roughly crush. Empty onto a wide, shallow bowl.
- Mix half the garlic, the lime juice and zest, and the cup of mayonnaise together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Cut the chicken breasts into smaller pieces – about three per breast – but keep the number easily divisible by four.
- Mix the rest of the garlic with the butter. Slit each piece of chicken to make a small pocket and stuff with the garlic butter.
- Mix the chicken pieces carefully into the mayonnaise mixture.
- Take the pieces out one at a time, coat in the Rice Krispie mixture, and lay each out on the silicone paper.
- Put in the oven for ten minutes. Take out. Turn each piece of chicken over. Return to the oven for another five minutes or so – until golden.
- Meanwhile mix the rest of the mayonnaise with the Greek yoghurt. Garnish with any remaining thyme, and maybe a sprinkling of paprika.
- Serve the chicken hot, with the yoghurt/mayonnaise sauce and a green salad, dressed with a lime-based vinaigrette.