Buttermilk chicken






The acidic quality of buttermilk tenderises the chicken and helps the spicy coating cling to the flesh before you fry it. Serves four to six.


1 chicken, jointed,

or about 1.5kg chicken pieces

For the marinade

700ml buttermilk

1 small onion, peeled and grated

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

1 tsp cayenne pepper½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the coating

250g plain flour

1½ tsp salt2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped

2 tsp sweet paprika½-

1 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you want it

100ml whole milk

Vegetable oil, for frying



















  1. In a large bowl, mix 500ml of the buttermilk with the other marinade ingredients. Put in the chicken and turn until the chicken is well coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, take the chicken out of the fridge about an hour before you want to cook it, to allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne. In a jug, whisk together the rest of the buttermilk and the milk. Trickle this mixture into the flour and use a fork to mix it lightly together – the batter should be floury with some little lumps mixed in – this is what makes the coating extra crunchy.
  3. Heat about 5cm of vegetable oil in a deep-sided pan until it reads 180C on an instant-read thermometer. (If you don't have a thermometer, at that heat a slightly stale cube of white bread should turn golden in 15 seconds.) Working in batches, roll the chicken in the coating, pressing gently to make sure it sticks.
  4. Fry the chicken a few pieces at a time, for about eight minutes. As each piece is cooked, place it in a roasting tin while you carry on cooking the rest. When you've fried all of them, finish off the chicken in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through.