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More Nigella recipes

Fried Chicken Sandwich

by . Featured in COOK EAT REPEAT
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Introduction

‘Fried', ‘Chicken' and ‘Sandwich’: three alluring enough words on their own; together, they promise pure unbridled pleasure. And frankly, that’s the only kind of pleasure I’m interested in. This is a treat that delivers in so many ways: the crunch of the coating; the tender, juicy, marinated meat; the spice that runs through both. Yes, it does involve deep-frying, which sounds stressful I know, but with only one chicken thigh to fry, it’s surprisingly unflustering. It’s up to you whether you eat this in a burger bun or bread: there are arguments to be made for either. If going for a burger bun, then make sure it’s a good one. And if it’s bread you want, you can’t do better than the Old-Fashioned Sandwich Loaf.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

‘Fried', ‘Chicken' and ‘Sandwich’: three alluring enough words on their own; together, they promise pure unbridled pleasure. And frankly, that’s the only kind of pleasure I’m interested in. This is a treat that delivers in so many ways: the crunch of the coating; the tender, juicy, marinated meat; the spice that runs through both. Yes, it does involve deep-frying, which sounds stressful I know, but with only one chicken thigh to fry, it’s surprisingly unflustering. It’s up to you whether you eat this in a burger bun or bread: there are arguments to be made for either. If going for a burger bun, then make sure it’s a good one. And if it’s bread you want, you can’t do better than the Old-Fashioned Sandwich Loaf.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Fried Chicken Sandwich
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 1, ecstatically

Metric Cups

For the pink-pickled onions

  • ½ red onion
  • red wine vinegar or lime juice to cover

For the chicken

  • 75 millilitres kefir, buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika plus ¼ teaspoon for flour, below
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt plus ¼ teaspoon for flour, below
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 fat clove of garlic
  • 1 small chicken thigh fillet
  • 50g or 4 - 5 tablespoons plain flour
  • Approx. 1½ litres sunflower oil for frying - (for a 22cm / 8in pan, more for a wok)

For Assembling

  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons garlic mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli Crisp oil or other chilli sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • 1 burger bun or 2 slices of white bread
  • A few leaves of iceberg lettuce shredded
  • kimchi or pickles of your choice

For the pink-pickled onions

  • ½ red onion
  • red wine vinegar or lime juice to cover

For the chicken

  • 5 tablespoons kefir, buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika plus ¼ teaspoon for flour, below
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt plus ¼ teaspoon for flour, below
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 fat clove of garlic
  • 1 small chicken thigh fillet
  • 4 - 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Approx. 6 cups vegetable oil for frying - (for a 22cm / 8in pan, more for a wok)

For Assembling

  • ¼ cup garlic mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli Crisp oil or other chilli sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • 1 burger bun or 2 slices of white bread
  • A few leaves of iceberg lettuce shredded
  • kimchi or pickles of your choice

Method

  1. Make your pink-pickled onions as far in advance as you can: at least 2 hours, and up to 24. Cut your red onion half into fine half-moons. Put these into a jar with a lid, or simply into a bowl that you can cover. Pour over red wine vinegar (or lime juice), pressing down on the onions until they are all just immersed. Put the lid on the jar or cover your bowl, and leave the onions to steep.
  2. Pour the kefir, or buttermilk, or yogurt into a small dish and stir in the ½ teaspoon of hot smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and maple syrup. Peel the garlic and mince or grate it in, too. Give a good stir, then add the chicken thigh fillet and turn it in the marinade to make sure it’s well coated. Cover the dish, then leave for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days in the fridge. (If you simply cannot wait that long, leave the chicken in its marinade out on the kitchen counter for 20–40 minutes.)
  3. Take the chicken, in its marinade, out of the fridge in good time to get to room temperature before you start to cook it.
  4. Mix the flour with the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of hot smoked paprika and salt in a shallow dish. Lift the chicken out of the marinade, but don’t try and shake it off. Dredge both sides of the chicken in the seasoned flour, then dip briefly back into the marinade and dredge again. This double-dredging is essential to get a thick, shaggy coating. You can leave the coated chicken in the flour dish until you fry.
  5. Mix the garlic mayonnaise with the Chilli Crisp oil and honey, and spread both pieces of a split burger bun (or a couple of slices of bread) with it. Put a plate lined with kitchen paper by (but not dangerously near) the hob, if you want to get rid of any excess fat once the chicken’s cooked.
  6. Pour enough oil into your chosen pan to come about 3½ cm / 1¼ in up the sides. Heat until a small piece of bread becomes golden and crisp almost instantly; if you want to be precise, and have a food thermometer, then you want the fat to be at 190℃/375°F when the chicken goes in (and about 180℃/350°F as it cooks).
  7. Using tongs, gently lower the chicken thigh into the hot oil, and cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, by which time the coating should be deep gold and very crisp and the chicken completely cooked through. Remove to the waiting paper-lined plate, remembering to take the pan of oil off the heat, and leave to stand for a couple of minutes while you shred some iceberg lettuce and get out your pickles. Put a handful of shredded lettuce on top on the mayo on the bottom slice, top with the fried chicken, add kimchi, pink-pickled onions and any other pickles you want. Scatter with a bit more lettuce and squidge on the top of the bun or second slice of bread. Go in cautiously: I have more than once burned my mouth.
  1. Make your pink-pickled onions as far in advance as you can: at least 2 hours, and up to 24. Cut your red onion half into fine half-moons. Put these into a jar with a lid, or simply into a bowl that you can cover. Pour over red wine vinegar (or lime juice), pressing down on the onions until they are all just immersed. Put the lid on the jar or cover your bowl, and leave the onions to steep.
  2. Pour the kefir, or buttermilk, or yogurt into a small dish and stir in the ½ teaspoon of hot smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and maple syrup. Peel the garlic and mince or grate it in, too. Give a good stir, then add the chicken thigh fillet and turn it in the marinade to make sure it’s well coated. Cover the dish, then leave for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days in the fridge. (If you simply cannot wait that long, leave the chicken in its marinade out on the kitchen counter for 20–40 minutes.)
  3. Take the chicken, in its marinade, out of the fridge in good time to get to room temperature before you start to cook it.
  4. Mix the flour with the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of hot smoked paprika and salt in a shallow dish. Lift the chicken out of the marinade, but don’t try and shake it off. Dredge both sides of the chicken in the seasoned flour, then dip briefly back into the marinade and dredge again. This double-dredging is essential to get a thick, shaggy coating. You can leave the coated chicken in the flour dish until you fry.
  5. Mix the garlic mayonnaise with the Chilli Crisp oil and honey, and spread both pieces of a split burger bun (or a couple of slices of bread) with it. Put a plate lined with kitchen paper by (but not dangerously near) the hob, if you want to get rid of any excess fat once the chicken’s cooked.
  6. Pour enough oil into your chosen pan to come about 3½ cm / 1¼ in up the sides. Heat until a small piece of bread becomes golden and crisp almost instantly; if you want to be precise, and have a food thermometer, then you want the fat to be at 190℃/375°F when the chicken goes in (and about 180℃/350°F as it cooks).
  7. Using tongs, gently lower the chicken thigh into the hot oil, and cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, by which time the coating should be deep gold and very crisp and the chicken completely cooked through. Remove to the waiting paper-lined plate, remembering to take the pan of oil off the heat, and leave to stand for a couple of minutes while you shred some iceberg lettuce and get out your pickles. Put a handful of shredded lettuce on top on the mayo on the bottom slice, top with the fried chicken, add kimchi, pink-pickled onions and any other pickles you want. Scatter with a bit more lettuce and squidge on the top of the bun or second slice of bread. Go in cautiously: I have more than once burned my mouth.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
Marinate chicken up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate, covered, then cook as directed in recipe.

MAKE AHEAD:
Marinate chicken up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate, covered, then cook as directed in recipe.

Tell us what you think

What 4 Others have said

  • Thanks for a single-serving recipe! Like another commenter, I keep only sweet smoked paprika. Mixing the chili crisp with the mayo is a great idea. I don’t think any pickle other than those pickled red onions is necessary. Finally, a brioche bun for me.

    Posted by hollis517 on 18th April 2021
  • This is such an amazing fried chicken sandwich, thank you Nigella! I didn't have hot paprika, just sweet smoked paprika, but this also worked a charm. it is well worth the effort to seek out the Crispy Chilli Oil recommended for the mayonnaise, as that mixture is absolutely delicious.

    Posted by ljmoore86 on 28th February 2021
  • This was my very first fried chicken at home and my gosh was it delicious! Measured the oil temperature to 190 Celsius sharp and it worked like a charm. Also used ayran (Turkish yoghurt drink) instead of kefir and pounded chicken breast instead of thigh and it was still great. Obviously had it with old fashioned white sandwich loaf, as seen on television. Can't wait to make this again!

    Posted by The1Deniz on 29th December 2020
  • As a person whose guilty pleasure is fried chicken this ticked every box for flavour, texture, just the right amount of heat. It was a wonderful Saturday lunch

    Posted by DelB on 21st November 2020
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