By now it’s probably clear that I’m always looking for ways to make things myself instead of relying on restaurants or large manufacturers. Sometimes it’s a cost issue, sometimes it’s a healthy-choice issue, and sometimes it’s just plain satisfying to know how to do things myself! This post reflects the last reason.
My son, Michael, and I decided that we needed to learn how to make fried chicken fingers. Then once we got going on that, it became clear that we also needed to make onion rings…mostly because we LOVE onion rings and with all that hot oil, it’d be foolish not to try to make some.
The major disclaimer that I need to make here is that I am not from the South. I fry food on average once every three years. I didn’t grow up eating fried chicken (or fried ANYTHING really.) I ate my first-ever homemade fried chicken shortly after New Years a few weeks ago at a friend’s house.
I was a little put off by the chicken skin underneath that crispy crumb coating. It also seemed to sit in the oil for a LONG time while it was cooking. (I TOLD you, I’m not from a place that fries things!) So Michael and I decided that we needed to try this fried chicken thing with boneless, skinless chicken tenders. We were pleased enough with the results. The big home-run, however, were the onion rings. Ooooh, we loved those and we’ll write about those tomorrow.
Here’s what we did for fried chicken tenders. I should mention that I’m working on providing a gluten-free alternative for a couple of my sons these days, so I used non-wheat flours for this. If you want, you can use regular flour and I suspect the results will be quite similar.
We had two shallow containers. In one, I poured about a cup of buttermilk. In the other container, I stirred together:
- 1/2 c. cornmeal
- 1/2 c. potato flour
- 1/2 c. rice flour
- 1 t. garlic powder
- 1 t. ground pepper
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 t. pepper flakes
- 1 t. smoky paprika
I dipped the chicken tenders in the buttermilk and then dredged them in the flour mixture. I let them sit on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes and repeated that process.
Meanwhile, the oil was heating up. When it was hot, we slid the battered chicken tenders in and watched them fry. It took 8-10 minutes to cook the chicken tenders until they were completely cooked in the middle. The frying time will depend on the thickness of the tenders and the temperature of your oil. Be sure to cut open a tender to check doneness because the outside coating can be golden brown but the inside chicken still quite raw.
Drain the cooked tenders on a paper towel.
The chicken tenders were remarkably tasty and moist. I also tried baking some in the oven just to see how that worked. Those tenders also turned out well but we noted that they dried out when we put the leftovers in the fridge after dinner.