Crunchy Fried Chicken Fillet Burgers

Serves 8

Crunchy fried chicken is one of those particular foods that is completely worthwhile learning how to make yourself….especially if you live hundreds of km away from the nearest fried chicken shop or amazing burger joint.  I made it my mission to try many different coatings, spice blends and methods in order to find one that was worth putting out there in my recipe offerings.  I also wanted one that required little planning.  Most recipes call for buttermilk in the soaking of the chicken.  It’s not something I regularly buy so I use a mixture of milk and cream.  It gives the right kind of consistency I’m look for and a similar flavour.  You could use buttermilk if you have it!  

I use a mixture of gluten free flours to make the dredging coating which results in a deeply crunchy bite.  Each of the flours serves a different purpose terms of flavour and texture.  Coarse rice flour gives particular crispiness, super fine potato flour is absorbent and gives satisfying body to the crunch and the tapioca flour binds them both together.  I also use xanthan gum as it works to glue together the flours in the absence of gluten.  It’s an important little ingredient in gluten free cooking and is handy to have in your cupboard.  All these flours and the xanthan gum are sold by my local shop and are almost always in my pantry.  If you don’t need to have this gluten free or you don’t have these flours, you can just use plain flour.

TIP: One of my best tips for deep-frying is to invest in a candy or digital thermometer.  You can buy one for $25 max.  Mine is good because it uses regular AAA batteries so I don’t have to search for annoying button batteries because if I’m perfectly honest, I have a stack of gadgets that never have them replaced because I never get around to searching for them.  Think of deep-frying like you would cooking in an oven.  It’s really handy knowing the temperature so you know that things will cook all the way through to the centre, without burning on the outside. 

Crunchy Fried Chicken Fillet Burgers

This fried chicken has a deeply crunchy bite in its outer coating thanks to the use of a number of flours in the dredging mix. This is the kind of chicken fillet that needs to be encased in a burger, dripping with sauce and some fresh lettuce. We love it with fiery sriracha and Jalapenos but you can leave out the hot stuff and serve with some salad and dill mayo.

Equipment

  • wok or deep saucepan, for deep-frying
  • digital or candy thermometer

Ingredients

  • 8 whole chicken thighs

Dredging Mix

  • cup rice flour See notes.
  • cup potato flour (potato starch) See notes.
  • cup tapioca flour See notes.
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum See notes.
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper

Soaking Mix

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp white pepper

To Deep-fry

  • 2-3 L neutral oil (sunflower or canola)

Dill Mayo

  • 1 ½ cups whole egg mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp natural Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp American mustard
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp capers finely chopped
  • cracked black pepper

To Serve

  • 8 brioche burger buns (gluten free, if needed) halved, toasted on the inside
  • sliced, pickled Jalapeno chillies 5-6 slices, per burger
  • baby cos lettuce leaves 2 per burger
  • sriracha 2 tablespoons per burger
  • 8 slices American cheese optional

Instructions

Dredging Mix (Can be made well in advance)

  • Mix together all of the ingredients and set aside.

UP TO THE DAY BEFORE, make the soaking mix.

  • Mix together all the ingredients in a large non-reactive bowl.

UP TO THE DAY BEFORE make the Dill Mayo

  • Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

ON THE DAY, marinate the chicken in the Soaking Mix.

  • Stir the chicken through the soaking mix and refrigerate until an hour before cooking.

AN HOUR BEFORE COOKING dredge the chicken.

  • Spread the dredging mix in a wide bowl. Take one chicken thigh from the soaking liquid and place directly into the floury mixture, sprinkling and pressing the coating all over the chicken to ensure it has a generous layer. Arrange the fillet onto a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs, one at a time, arranging them in a single layer. LITTLE TIP: If you need to layer them up, separate the layers with baking paper.
  • Cover the tray and allow the chicken to rest up to an hour in the fridge while you prepare to make burgers. Although this does give the coating a chance to set, it isn't absolutely necessary and you can begin cooking the chicken immediately.

To Deep-fry

  • Pour the oil into a wok or deep saucepan until it is 3/4 full. Heat the oil to about 180 degrees Celsius on a digital thermometer. LITTLE TIP: For all deep-frying use a digital or candy thermometer. It takes all the guess work out of deep-frying this chicken. As the chicken needs a substantially long deep-fry it is really important to have the oil at the right temperature.
  • Once the oil is heated, add in 3 fillets. Check the temperature again. It will have immediately reduced. You want to bring the temp up to about 160-165 degrees Celsius to cook the chicken for 16 minutes. Set your timer. Turn the chicken 4 or 5 times during the deep-frying process. In this time it will crisp and turn dark golden brown. Remove to a plate to drain on some absorbent paper. Reheat the oil and repeat with the remaining chicken thighs. You might need to keep the fillets warm in a low oven while you cook the remaining chicken.

To Serve

  • Serve immediately while the fillets are hot. Layer the burgers in this order - bun, sriracha (generous here!), crunchy chicken fillet, cheese (if using), pickled Jalapenos, Cos lettuce, 2-3 tablespoons dill mayo and top with the remaining bun half.

Notes

  • This chicken is gluten free.  If you want to make gluten free burgers, simply use gluten free buns.  
  • You can find rice flour, potato flour (starch), tapioca flour, and xanthan gum from most stores in the gluten free section.  All are available to buy online and can be posted to you.  
  • If you don't want to make the chicken gluten free or can't locate these flours, substitute all the flours and xanthan gum simply with 2 cups plain flour.  
Keyword Chicken, fried, KFC
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