Buttermilk fried chook

Buttermilk fried chook

Who doesn’t like crispy chicken? There are always several recipes for it in every culture. Some of my favourite Asian dishes have fried chicken as their centrepiece.


  • 8 free-range chicken thighs (organic if possible), bone in, skin on
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 600 ml (21 fl oz) buttermilk
  • Lemon wedges, potato salad and coleslaw, to serve

  • Coating
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz/4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste


Fill a deep-fryer or saucepan two-thirds full of oil and heat to 180ºC (350ºF). If you are using a saucepan then use a kitchen thermometer as a guide as you don’t want the oil too hot.

Combine all the coating ingredients in a large bowl, then split it between two medium bowls. Pour the buttermilk into a third bowl and season to taste. Now place the bowls in a line starting with one bowl of coating, followed by the milk, then the other bowl of coating, and a tray or plate at the end for the coated chicken.

Dip each chicken thigh into the first bowl of coating, patting off any excess and then dip into the buttermilk, allowing the excess milk to run off back into the bowl; then dip into the second bowl of coating. Place on the plate or tray and repeat until all the chicken thighs are coated.

Working in batches, gradually lower the thighs into the hot oil. If using a saucepan of oil rather than a deep-fryer, make sure you adjust the temperature to get it back to 180ºC (350ºF) as quickly as possible.

Fry for 2–3 minutes, then carefully move the chicken pieces around in the oil and continue to fry, for a further 12–14 minutes. The chicken should be golden brown and very crisp. Drain on paper towel and serve with lemon wedges, potato salad and coleslaw.


NOTES: I like to cook wings in the same coating and you can toss them with herbs and a Thai nam jin dressing or Vietnamese nuoc cham for a delightful salad with rice. They are also great tossed in a little melted butter laced with lashings of Tabasco for a hot wings and beer fix.

To make an easy potato salad, simply boil whole small or halved pink eye potatoes until tender. Drain, then crush lightly, season with sea salt and pepper, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (the potatoes will drink quite a bit) and sprinkle with either red wine vinegar or lemon juice. Thinly sliced parsley makes a welcome flavour and colour addition.

For a coleslaw, just shave cabbage finely, add grated carrot and onion and mix with mayonnaise or aïoli.

First published in Neil’s cookbook Easy Weekends. Photography by Earl Carter.