Oven-baked “KFC” mini chicken fillets

kfc chicken

I happened on a food blog called RecipeTinEats while looking for a recipe for southern-fried chicken that was not actually fried, as Pete had bought a pack of chicken breast mini fillets. This blog had great photos – and does anyone else feel that practically every food blog one sees nowadays has fantastic photographs? The food itself doesn’t look doable by lazy/incompetent me, but my oh my, the photos! But that’s by the by – as I was saying, the photos were sensational and when I read the write-up and the recipe, I was thrilled that it really did seem easy.

The recipe below is pretty much what Nagi of RecipeTinEats posted on her blog. I used a 50:50 mixture of Greek yogurt and milk in place of the buttermilk (because I didn’t have any buttermilk handy), and added some cumin powder and coriander powder to the spice mix… because why not. While the spices probably don’t add up to the number that KFC boast of in their “secret” mix of spices and herbs, they are more than adequate for the chicken.

I guess I should say that the chicken didn’t get as crisp in the oven as Nagi mentioned, but perhaps that was my fault. I was just concerned that the chicken strips might become dry and tasteless if I left them too long in the oven in the hope that they would crisp up. So I removed them when they were a golden brown and a knife inserted in the thickest part showed that the chicken was cooked.

I didn’t tell Pete that the chicken was meant to be KFC-style. I just served it up with home-made coleslaw. And guess what? When I asked him if the chicken was good, he said – and this is gospel truth – that it was the best chicken he’d tasted short of being an actual KFC takeaway! Sweet! And he made the KFC connection all on his own. So thank you, Nagi of RecipeTinEats, for the inspiration.

Recipe for: Oven-baked KFC chicken

Ingredients for spice mix:

1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp mustard powder
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional,or to taste)

For the chicken:

450 gm chicken mini fillets
1 cup buttermilk (I used 50:50 Greek yogurt and milk)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/8 cup cornmeal (NOT cornflour)
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Oil spray

Method:

Prep:

1. Mix together all the spices in a bowl.

2. Whisk together the buttermilk and 1 tbsp of the spice mix. Put the chicken in a bowl and pour in the spiced buttermilk, mixing it all up with your hands. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours minimum and up to 8 hours (or overnight).

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 200C/400F.

2. Put the butter and oil in a large rimmed baking tray place in the oven to heat. Once the butter is melted, tip the tray carefully so that the fat coats the entire surface of the tray.

3. Combine the remaining spice mix with the breadcrumbs, cornmeal and flour. Place half in a large Ziploc bag.

4. Shake off the excess buttermilk from each piece of chicken and place in the Ziploc bag with the spice mix. (Discard the remaining marinade.) Shake the bag well, so that the coating sticks to the chicken. Press it on through the bag if required.

5. Place the chicken carefully in the baking tray. Pat on extra coating if required.

6. Bake the chicken for 12 minutes, then turn them over, spray with non-stick spray and put them back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes or until they are golden. Check one of the pieces at its thickest part by inserting a knife, to see if it is cooked. If yes, remove the chicken from the oven, because overcooking them will dry them out. Hopefully they will be crisp as well but even if they’re not crunchy, they will taste wonderful (as attested by my husband).

Serve with coleslaw or a salad.

Verdict: “As close to tasting like KFC as you can make at home”

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