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Fried Chicken 101: Revealing Crispy Stories

Fried Chicken 101: Revealing Crispy Stories

Monika Febriana
06 July 2023

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In celebration of Fried Chicken Day, let's uncover the secrets behind the irresistible crunch of this beloved dish. Join us to explore fascinating facts that will leave you craving for more!

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Fried chicken has always been my go-to comfort food whenever I’m unsure of what to have for lunch or dinner. The crispy skin, tender meat, and convenient presentation are the reasons why I consistently choose this menu in various situations. And I’m sure many of you can relate. From street vendors to fast food restaurants, fried chicken is readily available, making it an easily accessible choice when hunger strikes.

Beyond its irresistible appeal, this beloved dish holds a treasure trove of intriguing facts waiting to be discovered. Prepare to be captivated as we peel back the layers and uncover the hidden wonders behind this culinary temptation. Let’s dive into the realm of fried chicken and unearth some fascinating facts that will leave you craving for more.

Fried Chicken Day

The Origin of Fried Chicken

Renowned as one of the beloved modern dishes, fried chicken’s history stretches back thousands of years. The cooking technique for chicken has been traced back to 9,500 years ago, Southeast Asians are believed to have raised chickens, but it is not certain whether they ate them or not. During that time, chickens were revered and held in high esteem. 

As time passed, the Chinese, West Africans, and Middle Easterners began serving fried chicken as a dish fit for royalty. The process involved quickly frying the chicken and then simmering it to achieve tender meat. This culinary method became the genesis of fried chicken.

In 1747, the first written recipe for fried chicken appeared in the book “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,” authored by Hannah Glasse. In this book, the chicken was seasoned, coated in lard, and then fried.

Scottish and West African food can be credited with inspiring the creation of fried chicken in the southern states of America. West African fried chicken was spiced but battered and cooked in palm oil, unlike Scottish fried chicken, which was cooked in fat but was unseasoned.

Both the Scottish and West African communities had a tradition of frying chicken. This fusion of European-style cooking with various African spices laid the foundation for the emergence of fried chicken in the southern United States. Consequently, the South became the birthplace of fried chicken, and from there, its popularity spread worldwide

History of Fried Chicken in Indonesia

The American-style fried chicken was introduced to Indonesia with the arrival of the first KFC outlet. In 1978, the Galael family established KFC, and in October 1979, the first outlet opened its doors on Jalan Melawai, Jakarta. The public welcomed its opening, leading to the success of subsequent branches across Indonesia.

Indonesia also boasts its own fried chicken brand called California Fried Chicken (CFC), founded in 1983. CFC is recognized as one of the Indonesian companies that pioneered the concept of fast-food restaurants. Their signature menu features delicious fried chicken with a crispy skin texture, alongside other offerings such as chicken porridge, chicken spaghetti, and fried rice.

Facts About Fried Chicken

Now, let’s uncover some intriguing, fun facts about fried chicken that will pique your curiosity:

  • Only young chickens are suitable for cooking as fried chicken.
  • Fried chicken can be prepared in three ways: deep frying, pressure frying, and pan frying.
  • In Korea, there is a popular food culture called Chimaek, which combines Chicken with maekju (beer), signifying the enjoyment of fried chicken accompanied by a cup of beer.
  • The secret recipe of KFC remains locked in the safe of the central KFC security department, shrouding the spices behind their famous chicken in secrecy.
  • For an extra crispy coating, a mixture of breadcrumbs and buttermilk is recommended when making fried chicken.
  • KFC outlets in America do not serve rice but instead offer fried fries and cookies.
  • In Japan, KFC is often enjoyed as a traditional Christmas and New Year’s food.

Fried Chickens Around The World

Although fried chicken gained popularity in South America, various countries have developed their own distinctive styles of fried chicken. Let’s take a look at some notable examples:

Ayam Goreng (Indonesia)
Known as Ayam Goreng in the local language, Indonesian fried chicken is a typical dish made by marinating chicken in a blend of turmeric, galangal, tamarind, and other spices before frying it to golden perfection. It is commonly enjoyed with warm rice, chili sauce, and a side of lalapan (fresh vegetables). In some recipes, fried chicken is also served with kremesan (crispy).

Cantonese Crispy Chicken (China)
Cantonese Crispy Chicken is a traditional Chinese dish with a unique cooking method and flavor profile. The chicken is steamed and then air-dried for several hours before being fried to a golden brown. After cooking, the chicken is sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with vinegar, adding a delightful twist to its taste.

Chicken 65 (India)
India, famous for its spice-rich cuisine, presents Chicken 65—a marinated boneless chicken dish coated in spices and yogurt, dusted with rice flour, and deep-fried. It is served with a mixture of green chilies, minced garlic, and curry leaves, providing a spicy kick. Chicken 65 is characterized by its vibrant red color, achieved using Kashmiri chili powder.

Gai Tod (Thailand)
Gai Tod, a Thai-style fried chicken commonly found at street vendors, boasts a savory taste infused with garlic, pepper, coriander, and oyster sauce. Traditionally, the chicken is coated with rice flour to achieve a crispy texture when fried. Gai Tod can be enjoyed as a snack or as a side dish with rice, accompanied by chili sauce.

Karaage (Japan)
When talking about typical Japanese food made from chicken, then Karaage must be included in the list. Karaage is a popular Japanese dish made from boneless chicken coated in flour and deep-fried to perfection. The bite-sized chicken pieces are typically served as a side dish with warm rice or enjoyed as a snack. Each year, Japan holds the Grand Prix Karaage competition to determine the most delicious and crunchy fried chicken, with Nakatsu being a renowned city for its exceptional Karaage.

Southern Fried Chicken (USA)
One cannot discuss fried chicken without mentioning Southern Fried Chicken, a staple food commonly found in fast food restaurants. Traditionally, the chicken pieces, such as wings, thighs, and breasts, are soaked in brine and buttermilk to enhance flavor and tenderness. They are then coated in flour and fried to achieve a crispy exterior. Southern fried chicken is often served with rice or fried potatoes.

Taiwanese Fried Chicken (Taiwan)
Taiwanese Fried Chicken offers a simple yet delightful way to enjoy chicken. It is cut into small, bite-sized pieces resembling popcorn, making it easy to consume. The chicken is seasoned with garlic, ginger, and various spices, then coated with potato or corn flour. Once fried until cooked and crispy, it is served with additional spices such as barbecue, seaweed, cheese, and more for a modern twist.

Yangnyeom (Korean)
For fans of K-Food, Yangnyeom is a must-try Korean fried chicken dish. It is known for its rich and flavorful spices, offering a combination of sweet, spicy, and savory tastes. The chicken is double-fried to achieve a crunchy texture and is then coated in a red sauce made from garlic, herbs, tomato sauce, and Gochujang—a fermented chili paste commonly used in Korean cuisine.

As we commemorate Fried Chicken Day, let’s appreciate the diverse range of flavors and styles that this beloved dish has to offer. Whether you prefer the American-style or venture into international variations, fried chicken continues to captivate taste buds worldwide. So, savor the crispy delight and indulge in the irresistible pleasure of fried chicken!

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