Jamaican Fried chicken could be Jamaica’s second national dish. It is the one dish you can find on every Jamaican restaurant’s menu on any day of the week. It is also a popular Sunday dinner meal oddly enough served as a side to a red meat like goat or oxtail. It is Jamaica’s ultimate comfort food and it is distinctly cooked and served very differently from fried chicken in other parts of the world. Firstly, the breading for the chicken tends to be on the lighter side with no egg wash or extra double coating. The star of the show is paprika that helps to give the chicken its distinct color. Lastly, the crunchiness that lasts even after the chicken is cold comes from the addition of breadcrumbs to the flour.
My grandmother used to make or buy plain bread crumbs from the supermarket. Over the years, my mother adjusted the recipe to include seasoned italian breadcrumbs. For this recipe I added seasoned Japanese Panko breadcrumbs because I absolutely love the crispness and flavor that this type of breadcrumbs gives to fried chicken. I paired this cook with rice and peas and traditional Jamaican fresh cabbage salad. The bonus recipe for cabbage salad is here as well. I will also share below how to make Jamaican fried chicken gravy to accompany this delicious chicken.
For Jamaican Fried Chicken, you will need:
- Cast iron skillet or large dutch pot
- Large bowl
- Medium bowl (flour dredge
- Medium bowl (cabbage salad)
- Cling film
- Lined baking tray (w/paper towels)
- Metal cooling rack
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- 2 disposable gloves
- Small saucepan (gravy)
- 1-4lb chicken cut up and washed
- 1 tbsp chicken seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1½ tsp @maggijm all purpose seasoning
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ of a scotch bonnet pepper (for flavoring oil)
- 2 cloves of mashed garlic (for flavoring oil)
- 4-5 cups of Canola Oil (for frying)
- Flour Dredge:
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 tsp chicken seasoning
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
- Ingredients for salad:
- 1/2 green cabbage
- ¼ green pepper
- ¼ yellow pepper
- ½ of a medium carrot peeled
- ¼ of a large cucumber or ½ of a medium cucumber
- 8 cherry tomatoes of 1 plum tomato
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- ½ tsp olive oil (optional)
- ***These ingredients will make a small salad. Double the ingredients for a larger one.
- Ingredients for fried chicken gravy:
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp pickapeppa sauce
- 3 tbsp white cane sugar
- ¼ small yellow onion grated
- ½ tsp red hot sauce (Gracefoods)
- 1.5 cup water
- 3 tbsp crumbs from fried chicken oil
- Cut up and rinse chicken under cold running water. Place chicken in a large bowl.
- To the chicken, measure and add all powdered seasonings. Cover your hands with disposable gloves and massage the seasonings into the meat. Cover the bowl with cling film and marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator. Before cooking, remove the chicken from the fridge and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
- In a medium bowl, season 3 cups of flour with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, white pepper, black pepper and Panko breadcrumbs. Mix all of the ingredients well using a fork. There is no need to add salt or all-purpose to the flour. It will make the chicken overly salty.
- In a cast iron skillet, add oil, scotch bonnet and mashed garlic. Heat oil and flavorings on medium low heat until the garlic and pepper begin to brown. Once the flavorings begin to brown, the oil is hot enough to start frying. You can also use a liquid thermometer to ensure the oil is at the correct temperature. For fried chicken, the oil needs to reach 360 degrees.
- Place 4-5 pieces of chicken into the seasoned flour dredge. Scoop the flour from the sides of the bowl and press it into the surface of the chicken. Turn each piece of chicken and repeat the scoop and press method to get all parts of the chicken coated in flour. Shake off the excess flour but check each piece to make sure there are no wet uncoated areas. If any part of the chicken’s surface is wet or uncoated, repeat the scoop and press method to get it fully coated in flour. Start with 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and 1 winglet.
- Place each piece of chicken into the oil. Keep the heat on medium-low heat (more on the lower side) and allow chicken to cook until one side is golden brown. Use a pair of tongs to flip the chicken and cook the other side until golden brown. Each piece will take roughly 5-6 minutes per side to fry. Do not increase the temperature of the oil as the outside of the chicken will cook and the inside will remain raw making it dangerous to consume.
- Remove cooked pieces of chicken from the oil and drain on a wire rack placed over a lined baking tray.
- Repeat steps 5-7 until all of the chicken is fried.
- Wash all veggies and set aside.
- Shred cabbage using a knife, mandolin or a vegetable peeler in a medium bowl.
- Slice peppers thinly using a knife or mandoline and add to cabbage.
- Peel cucumber by alternating the peel and leaving some of the skin on. Slice cucumber thinly and add to bowl.
- Slice cherry tomatoes in half or dice plum tomatoes. Set aside.
- Use the large shredding side of a grater to grate carrots into cabbage mix.
- To make the dressing, sweeten the vinegar in a small bowl by completely dissolving sugar until the vinegar becomes the consistency of simple syrup. Add in olive oil and mix to combine. Pour dressing entirely over the salad and use a fork to combine all of the ingredients well.
- Use tomatoes to stud the top of the salad. Chill the salad until it is time to serve.
Always use a mandolin guard when slicing anything on a mandolin. It is extremely dangerous not to.
Instructions for Chicken Gravy
- Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
- Allow the sauce to reduce and thicken for about 5 minutes before adding in the breading from the bottom of the skillet used to fry the chicken. Use a spoon to gently scoop the crumbs from the bottom of the pan. Drain as much of the oil away from the crumbs as you can before adding it to the sauce. Mix well into the sauce as it reduces. The crumbs will flavor the sauce but also help to thicken it.
- Plate and serve hot.