An ‘Instagram famous’ chef has shared her carefully crafted recipe for homemade ‘KFC’ chicken – and the secret to the world famous flavour lies in 12 herbs and spices.
Self-titled ‘home cook’ Jessica Nguyen, from Melbourne, said she spent ‘countless hours’ researching the techniques and seasoning used in the fried chicken chain’s cooking process.
While Ms Nguyen admitted it’s impossible to replicate how chicken is mass produced in KFC’s commercial kitchens, she has translated the original recipe into a manageable method to help you achieve the same results at home.
She said the key to unlocking the iconic taste is rubbing the chicken with a smorgasbord of spices that include classic favourites such as basil, oregano and paprika as well as less obvious flavours like mustard powder and celery salt.
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Jessica Nguyen (left) spent ‘countless hours’ researching the techniques and seasoning used in KFC’s cooking process so she could make the iconic snack (right) at home
KFC ‘not so secret’ herbs and spices
- 1/2 tbsp Basil
- 1/2 tbsp Oregano
- 1/2 tbsp Thyme
- 1 tbsp Celery salt
- 3 tbsp Ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp Ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp Smoked sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp Garlic powder
- 1 tbsp Mustard powder
- 1 tbsp Ginger power
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 1 tbsp MSG
Before getting started, Ms Nguyen said you’ll need a deep fryer, a digital thermometer and a wire baking rack, all available on Amazon Australia.
Once these tools have been assembled, she starts by cutting a whole chicken into large pieces, generously salting on both sides before standing the meat for 30 minutes.
Ms Nguyen said it’s crucial to season your chicken with salt continuously throughout the entire cooking process.
Once it has rested, she loads the seasoned chicken into a large pot and covers it with 600ml of buttermilk, allowing it to marinate in the fridge for a minimum of three hours, but ideally overnight.
Ms Nguyen says the secret to the world famous flavour lies in 12 herbs and spices
Ms Nguyen said buttermilk is the traditional way of tenderising chicken before it is fried in the southern United States, where Kentucky Fried Chicken was created.
Buttermilk contains enzymes and acids that break down protein in chicken, resulting in a tender and juicy cut of meat.
A couple of hours before you are ready to cook the chicken, Ms Nguyen said you must drain the buttermilk and bring the meat back to room temperature by leaving it outside the fridge.
She said it’s ‘critical’ to allow the chicken to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before frying, as cooking cold chicken straight from the fridge can result in an uneven cook that’s raw on the inside.
Ms Nguyen (left) said it’s crucial to invest in a digital thermometer (right) to ensure the chicken is cooked all the way through
While the chicken warms up, Ms Nguyen measures out her herbs and spices.
Her top tip is to mix smoked and sweet paprika, which she said adds a ‘greater depth of flavour’ than using just one.
Ms Nguyen blitzes the dried herbs in a food processor to achieve a texture similar to that served in KFC restaurants, before turning her attention to the coating.
She sifts two cups of plain flour into a large dish, then mixes the blitzed herbs and spices into the mixture until fully combined.
Next, Ms Nguyen prepares the milk and egg wash by whisking two eggs and one cup of milk in a large bowl.
Eggs and milk cling to the breading flour on the skin of the chicken, creating the classic coating synonymous with KFC.
Ms Nguyen checks the inside with a thermometer to ensure it’s fully cooked, with an internal temperature above 85 degrees Celsius proving the chicken is ready to eat
Ms Nguyen then adds a few tablespoons of the flour mixture into a separate dish, which will serve as the coating for the chicken.
To create the coating, she dips one piece of chicken in flour, shakes off any excess and then fully submerges it in the egg and milk wash.
Ms Nguyen then covers the chicken in flour once again and lays it out on a baking rack while she finishes the rest.
For extra crispy chicken, she recommends double dipping the breaded chicken back into the egg and milk wash and patting the mixture in so it forms rough indents around the edges.
Finally, the chicken is ready to be fried.
Ms Nguyen’s recipe has drawn widespread praise since it was shared on social media
Ms Nguyen sets her deep fryer to 180 degrees Celsius and fills it with three litres of vegetable oil.
She loads the frying basket with three pieces at a time and cooks them with the lid on for about eight or nine minutes.
Ms Nguyen checks the inside with a thermometer to ensure it’s fully cooked, with an internal temperature above 85 degrees Celsius proving the chicken is ready to eat.
A video of the recipe – which has racked up thousands of ‘likes’ since it was posted to Instagram on Tuesday – has drawn delighted responses, with the official account of Kitchen Aid Australia replying: ‘Colonel Saunders would be very proud!’
‘That looks incredible,’ one woman wrote, while a second said she ‘can’t wait to try’ the method at home.
A third said the clip had instantly inspired her to invest in a deep fryer and all the ingredients needed for the dish.
Jessica Nguyen’s KFC chicken
Baking rack and tray
INGREDIENTS (for 10 to 14 pieces)
2 cups plain flour
1 cup milk
3 litres cooking oil
1 whole chicken, cut into 10 to 14 pieces
½ cup Salt
‘Not so secret’ herbs and spices
1. Cut chicken into large pieces and generously salt on both sides before standing for 30 minutes.
2. Once it has rested, load the seasoned chicken into a large pot and cover it with 600ml of buttermilk, allowing it to marinate in the fridge for a minimum of three hours but ideally overnight.
3. A couple of hours before you are ready to cook the chicken, drain the buttermilk and bring the meat back to room temperature by leaving it outside the fridge.
4. Measure out herbs and spices and blitz in a food processor to achieve a texture similar to that served in KFC restaurants.
5. Sift two cups of plain flour into a large dish, then mix the blitzed herbs and spices into the mixture until fully combined.
6. Prepare the milk and egg wash by whisking two eggs and one cup of milk in a large bowl.
7. Add a few tablespoons of the flour mixture into a separate dish to serve as the coating for the chicken.
8. To create the coating, dip one piece of chicken in flour, shake off any excess and then fully submerge it in the egg and milk wash.
9. Cover the chicken in flour once again and lay it out on a baking rack while you finish the rest.
10. Set deep fryer to 180 degrees Celsius and fill with three litres of canola or vegetable oil.
11. Fry chicken three pieces at a time for eight or nine minutes.
12. Check chicken is fully cooked by sticking a thermometer inside – temperatures above 85 degrees Celsius mean it is safe to eat.
Source: Jessica Nguyen IGTV