What to do with suya spice? That was the question. After all the sweat and grind trying to find the ingredients, I wasn’t really feeling a ‘suya kebab’, as I decided to call them. I’m also trying to stave off red meat. Except lamb, she says in her head. Clearly still a big struggle for me.
So I hunted around the internet and found this fun recipe by Ajoke – Suya Popcorn Chicken. I have adapted Ajoke’s recipe a bit to bring out more of the crispy light texture we love from popcorn chicken.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the key to crispy chicken pieces, is not flour, or even the batter, its cornstarch. A little goes a long way (for more on the science of good fried chicken see here).
So let me waste no more time, ladies and gentleman I present to you: Suya Popcorn Chicken!
Suya Popcorn Chicken
5 tbsp homemade Suya Spice paste
juice of 1 lemon or lime
2 1/2 cups of plain flour
1/2 cup corn starch
pinch of Salt and pepper (for the flour coating)
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
2 cups of buttermilk
Chilli Flakes (garnish)
- Cut the diced chicken pieces into halves they should be a bit bigger than a thumbnail.
- Clean the chicken with half the lime and some extra salt, rinse and drain off the water.
- Pour the remainder of the lime over the chicken with the suya paste and rub it into the chicken with your hands. (This is a paste as opposed to a powder because I used fresh ginger, garlic and onion which I minced before adding to the remaining ground spices).
- Leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours or longer.
- In the meantime prepare a 3 bowls: i) half the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper and herbs ii) remaining plain flour iii) buttermilk and egg whisked
- Start to heat oil in a deep pot (about 1/2 full) keep to a medium/high heat.
- Take 4-5 pieces of chicken and toss it into bowls in the following order: i) plain flour ii) buttermilk iii) seasoned flour. Place on a separate plate to give the chicken bites time to bind with the coating before carefully placing them in the oil.
- The chicken should instantly float to the top, turn them after 1 minute to create an even coating, remove with a slotted spoon after 2 1/2 – 3 minutes.
- You can transfer the cooked pieces to kitchen towel initially to remove the excess oil. However I find placing the cooked pieces on a cooling rack (with kitchen towel underneath them) keeps it crispy as air can still pass through them— no soggy bottoms round here.