American chicken / poultry

Herb-and-Spice Infused Fried Chicken (Southern-Style) with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

Monday, June 23, 2014Enz F

With the emergence of large-scale advertisement and very intensive marketing strategy by the U.S., it is not surprising that the once very traditional Asian country of small islands clustered in the midst of the blue waters was never spared from the fast and ever-growing numbers of food chains with American themed or inspired dishes. Say, if you happen to drop by Metro Manila, you would see a multitude of these establishments strategically located inside the malls, beside the schools and office buildings, along the main roads or even on every corner of the streets. And how they smartly positioned themselves in the market is highly commendable too for penetrating the more easily persuaded and more emotionally vulnerable consumer bracket – the children. I am a surviving and grown-up example of such. When I was a child, I was a cry-baby over cheese burgers and my older brothers used to entice me with a cone of ice cream to make sure I would not tell Dad they failed on their Science class. Being once under the American regime (the Philippines was an American colony during 1898 to 1946), it was never hard for Filipinos to adapt to American taste, fashion, language and culture. As early as preschool, we were already taught American English and introduced to some American values. At some point, I find it fulfilling that these factors helped a lot of my fellow Filipinos to, little by little, traverse their way on the road to globalization. In some way, we owe many of these elusive but glaring achievements to the powerhouse from whom we had inherited the universal language and whose universal currency served as our country’s bumper on its dwindling economy. The only downgrading factor is that even if the American rulers had already left the Philippine shores for more than half the century, Filipinos still have the tendency to embrace the white culture with their entire soul while unconsciously or otherwise, misplacing a piece of their own identity along the way. I am not against Americanization nor do I hate Americans. I, myself, am Americanized in many ways – at least on the way I dressed myself up and on some of my preferences when it comes to genre of music or kind of food to eat. I have a number of awesome American friends and am thankful for their forefathers for leaving a wonderful heritage to my country. We owe to them why we are tagged as one of the oldest democracy in Asia. What makes things remorseful to me is that Filipinos are too vulnerable to handle changes. We have the tendency to be too adaptable to trend and swallow what the society dictates us without sparing a room for our own cultural identity, big enough to make Lapu-Lapu, Andres Bonifacio or Jose Rizal proud.

As a child, I first learned to love fried chicken before I got to appreciate grandma's vegetable dishes.
On a lighter note, there are undeniably magnificent legacies that Americans left us and still continue to become a normal portion in everyday life of a typical Filipino. That is very obvious in the area of food. My love affair with American palate may have all started from the day my appetite learned to recognize great-tasting dishes. One of my oldest memories of my first affinity to food was the late afternoon value meals on American fast-food restaurants with my Dad way back preschool days. He would at times spoil me and my younger brother with hamburgers, french fries, hotdog sandwiches and those aromatic and savory crispy-fried chicken drumsticks, which I first came to have known as a child as “chicken joy”. For every Filipino child who grew up and was raised in the Philippines, a fried chicken is synonymous to a chicken joy. “Chicken joy” is the brand name of a signature American-inspired fried chicken popularized by Jollibee, a leading Filipino-American fast-food chain in the Philippines. Honestly, I first learned to love fried chicken before I was able to appreciate grandma’s home-cooked vegetable dishes. As a child, the senses are playful and exploratory. Anything appealing to the senses is delightful and more enticing. Plus, a child would never mind the calorie count.

Fast-food chains serving American dishes is a normal scene in everyday life of a typical Filipino. 
Recently, I have learned to cook the Southern-Style Fried Chicken which is very close to my chicken joy. It is called southern-style because it is a traditional dish in the Southern part of the United States. The chicken pieces with skin on are usually rubbed with spices and marinated in rich buttermilk before they are dredged on seasoned flour and deep fried to golden brown. These preparation and cooking techniques would leave a crispy texture on the skin and juicy meat on the inside with hints of the herbs infused to it. The crispy chicken is best dipped in rich Gravy Sauce and paired with creamy Mashed Potato for a comforting countryside experience. But since I am still a 100% Filipino with purely Asian blood in my veins, I could not help devouring it with plenty of rice too which is not so surprisingly, I found out to be more tummy-filling and satisfying. They are just perfect either way.

I have to say, aside from the strong founded democracy, fried chicken is one of Uncle Sam’s greatest “pamana”. Indeed, Americans brought "joy" (figuratively and literally speaking) into the Filipino plate.
Herb-and-Spice Infused Fried Chicken (Southern-Style) with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes 
Number of Servings: 4 

For the chicken and marinade 
  • 8 pcs. chicken cuts, bone-in or fillet (choice of wing, thigh, breast or drumstick) 
  • ½ tsp. oregano powder 
  • ½ tsp. thyme powder 
  • ½ tsp. salt 
  • ½ tsp. pepper 
  • 1 cup whole milk and 1 tbsp. lime juice or 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 L cooking oil, for deep frying 
For the seasoned flour 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • ½ tsp. pepper 
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder 
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne powder 
  • 1 tsp. paprika 
  • ½ tsp. oregano powder 
  • ½ tsp. thyme powder 
For the mashed potatoes 
  • 6 pcs. medium-sized potatoes 
  • 2 cups water and 1 tsp. salt, for boiling 
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon powder 
  • ½ tsp. oregano powder 
  • ½ tsp. thyme powder 
  • 4 tbsps. butter 
  • ½ cup whole milk 
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt cream (optional) 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
For the gravy 
  • 1 cup chicken stock or 1 chicken bouillon dissolved in 1 cup potato stock 
  • 3 tbsps. butter 
  • ½ cup whole milk 
  • 2 tbsps. seasoned flour 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Marinate the chicken 
  1. Thoroughly wash the chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towel. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix the oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub the mixed spices into the chicken slices and leave to rest for 5 to 10 minutes to infuse the flavor of the spices. 
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the whole milk and lime juice. Let the mixture rest for 5 to 10 minutes or until the milk slightly thickens and small curdles begin to form. 
  4. Place the chicken pieces in a resealable container or ziplock bag. Pour in the milk mixture or the buttermilk (if using). Make sure to thoroughly coat the chicken. Cover the container or seal the bag and keep in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour to overnight. 
Dredge in flour and deep fry the chicken 
  1. In a large platter, sift and mix together the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, oregano and thyme. Reserve 2 tbsps. of the seasoned flour for the gravy. 
  2. Drain the chicken slices and place into the seasoned flour mixture. Toss to thoroughly cover the chicken with flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour and set aside the coated chicken. 
  3. Put enough cooking oil in a large frying pan to reach a depth of at least 1 inch. Heat the oil to 350ºF (175ºC) over medium heat. 
  4. Carefully put the chicken with skin side down first on hot oil. Depending on the thickness of the meat, fry the chicken in batches for 8 to 15 minutes on each side or until crispy and golden brown. If you are using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the chicken should reach at least 175ºF (80ºC). 
  5. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer on a wire rack to drain the excess oil. 
  6. Serve the chicken with gravy sauce and mashed potatoes on the side. Enjoy! 
Prepare the mashed potatoes 
  1. Peel the potatoes and slice into dices. Place in a deep pan with salted water and boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. 
  2. Drain the potatoes, setting aside 1 cup of the water. Mash the potatoes very well. 
  3. Whisk in the butter, whole milk, yogurt cream (optional), garlic powder, cinnamon, oregano and thyme, and then season with salt and pepper. 
Cook the gravy 
  1. Dissolve the seasoned flour in whole milk and set aside. 
  2. Dissolve the chicken bouillon in hot potato water and set aside, or prepare the chicken stock (if using). 
  3. Over medium heat, melt the butter in saucepan and whisk in the milk and flour mixture. 
  4. Gradually pour in the chicken stock or the dissolved chicken bouillon. 
  5. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken while stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper. 

  1. If not a fan of gravy sauce, you can use store-bought or homemade ketchup or mayonnaise as dipping sauce. 
  2. It is also best served with steamed rice and mixed veggies instead of mashed potatoes. 

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  1. I enjoyed reading the charming story of your childhood and the American food but I had to laugh at your last statement, "It is also best served with steamed rice and mixed veggies instead of mashed potatoes." as most Southern Fried Chicken in North America would be served with some kind of potatoes, mashed or fried in particular, with the absence of vegetables quite noticeable. The rice and vegetables certainly fuse the two food cultures together and would certainly be a pleasant change to most North American plates. As I am now vegetarian for many years, I will not try your recipe but it looks quite authentic from what I remember. The seasoned flour recipe, though, looks like a good all purpose mix to have on hand and I'll give that a try.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Oddly as it may seem but the "rice and vegetable" factor is very Asian of me. In fact, American food chains here are so kind and accommodating that they would serve fried chicken with steamed rice. :)

  2. Wonderful recipe my friend we usually serve either Southern style greens (spinach, mustard, collard, kale, etc.) or green beans with it. Any other vegetables vary by whats in season including a salad. If they are available try your chicken and gravy with a Southern delicacy called Grits instead of the potatoes. Also try Southern style or Cajun Shrimps and Grits for a creamy, dreamy taste treat :-)

    1. Thank you so much my friend. I would love to try all the sorts of vegetables and salad that you mentioned. And the sound of Southern-style shrimps and grit is so inviting too. Definitely to be included in my bucket list. :)


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