Masala Fried Chicken

A night out on the town for hubby and me is a place to grab some crisp fried chicken and a beer. Can it be more ‘no-nonsense’ than that! In New York, Fried chicken has many faces, such as the unanimous Southern Fried Chicken, soy glazed Korean Fried Chicken (a bit more wings focused), Thai fried – lollipop chicken with hints of lemon grass and Japanese fried chicken also known as chicken Karaage.

All the flavors inspired me to rummage through my pantry and come up with a Desi (Indian) spice Fried Chicken using some of the spices I used in my chicken curry previously. My findings were that the Indian spices and fried chicken combination was like ‘duck to water’. The combination of the crunch followed by the interesting assortment of spices made the fried chicken pop in my mouth. As for the chicken, it was a lovely breaded cracking only to reveal sheer succulence on the inside that tore apart with the faintest tug. Not surprised? After all, it’s what one expects from a fried chicken. Well, this chicken is not fried. Read on to see what I did and believe me, no one would ever suspect!


Chicken seasoning

Make a dry mixture combining:

  • 1 tsp.garam masala
  • 1 tsp. chat masala
  • ¾ tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ·Reserve a pinch for serving


  • 8oz semolina
  • 8oz breadcrumbs combined with a pinch of thyme, black pepper and chili flakes
  • 2 eggs, combined with a fork
  • ¼ cup of oil


  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Rub the dry chicken seasoning over the chicken and set aside for as long as you can (at least 1 hour)
  3. Heat a wide sauté pan with ½ the oil
  4. Set out three plates in front of you (preferably near the sauté pan)in the following sequence: Plate 1 with the semolina flour, plate 2 with the 2 eggs for the egg wash and plate 3 with breadcrumbs
  5. Dip the chicken in the semolina flour, lightly pressing it down, then dip in to the egg wash and finally dip and press in to the breadcrumbs
  6. Adding no more than 2 thighs at a time, add to the hot frying pan and let it develop a golden crust on each side. Set aside, and repeat with the last 2 thighs
  7. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook with a piece of foil placed loosely on top (to avoid the crust from burning). Cook for another 20 minutes and check that the chicken is done by inserting a knife at the thickest part near the bone – if the juices run clear, remove from the oven
  8. Give the chicken a final sprinkle of the reserved chicken seasoning and serve hot

Saira Malhotra, is of British –Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: Passport Pantry, where she shares approachable and international recipes.

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