Hot and spicy
The last couple of days have been unseasonably cool in Calcutta, with intermittent rain and lovely, squally weather. This afternoon too the skies darkened, and it rained cool and sharp and felt as though the monsoons were here already.
Now I tend to get rather hungry in rainy weather. It’s when I long to eat salty, crispy, fried stuff – hot, and straight off the fire. Today was one of those days. I felt the craving to eat some crackling hot and spicy fried food. Maybe some batter-fried brinjal roundels? Or perhaps some potato or onion pakoras liberally peppered with chilli flakes? I scanned my larder to see what I had that was quick fry-worthy.
Well, there were the onions and potatoes, of course, but they suddenly looked a bit boring. Then I remembered that I had some chicken drumsticks in the freezer. I immediately knew what would sustain me this rainy evening. I’d make some spicy fried chicken, I decided. It was easy as pie, quick (the only time consuming bit was getting the chicken pieces to thaw), and deeply, deeply satisfying.
The trick here is to control the heat while frying so that the crust does not brown too quickly, that is, before the chicken gets thoroughly cooked inside. Get that right and this dish is a sure shot one. Serve it with baked jacket potatoes and a salad on the side and you are set for a great meal. Irrespective of whether it’s raining outside or not!
10 chicken drumsticks
4 cups of milk
2 cups of flour
6 tsp of paprika powder
Some grated nutmeg
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Soak the chicken drumsticks in the milk for about 10 minutes. Mix the paprika, nutmeg and salt into the flour. Then take each drumstick and roll it in the flour to coat thoroughly.
Pour oil into a large and deep frying pan. The oil should come up to at least an inch in the pan. Heat the oil. Drop the chicken pieces in the hot oil. Keep the heat on medium and let it cook. After about 10 minutes turn the pieces over and leave to cook for another 10 minutes. The crust should take on a reddish brown colour. If you feel they need to brown some more, go ahead and let them cook for a little while longer.