Today’s Special: Broken Coffee Cafe Apartment Fried Chicken

Enough of the blind items for now.

I am feeling peckish today, so allow me to lead you as we traverse the more pleasurable alleys of gustatory delights. Today, just for today, I will share with you a recipe I came up with while still staying  alone with a pit bull and a mongrel dipped in the Japanese spitz genepool in an apartment right by the side of a highway where at nights, car drivers loved to drag race.

Actually, it’s my take on my favorite comfort food, the humble fried chicken.

It was still during my college days. I remember that it was during midterms week that company was coming one evening and I had nothing to serve for dinner. I think I promised them fried chicken or something, but with my “hectic” college schedule, I wasn’t able to marinate, in the night before, some chicken for frying. The boiling process recommended here is done to speed up the chicken’s absorbing capacity of the marinade, as the guests were scheduled to be calling in three hours’ time — which was also the time I was trying to clean up the living room to make it look presentable and banishing my dogs to the second-floor bedroom.

I leafed through my dusty memory for the recipe for chicken that’s tender and bursting with citrusy freshness on the inside while crispy crunchy on the outside.

Here’s how you go about it, in case you are in a bind with company coming over for dinner in, say, two hours’ time. Otherwise, you can marinate the chicken overnight, omitting the precooking process.

Take 12 slices of chicken thighs and/or drumsticks. Precook in a pot of water but don’t overdo the boiling; just be sure that the bloodiness is gone and the flesh is still intact and not falling off the bone and your chicken’s good to go. Drain and set aside while you prepare the marinade.

In a deep bowl, drop five finely chopped garlic cloves and one teaspoon of ground pepper in half a cup of Worcestershire sauce, two cups of soy sauce, one-fourth cup of calamansi juice, and two tablespoons of brown sugar. Mix under brown sugar is dissolved. Place chicken; make sure that each slice is well immersed in the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour or two, agitating or turning once in a while to get an even coating.

When the time’s up, drain the chicken and save the liquid. Ensure that the slices are dry enough for the coating. You don’t want to end up with a gooey mess that absorbs more oil that all those high-tech equipment corporations are using to clean up their oil spills in oceans all over the world.

For the coating, you need a cup of flour, no sifting necessary. Place in a plastic bag together with two teaspooons of ground pepper, two teaspoons of chili pepper (optional), a couple of teaspoons salt, and two tablespoons of powdered milk. No, breastmilk cannot be a substitute.

Drop the chicken pieces, one piece at a time, into the flour bag. Shake for an even coat.

Heat oil (deep-frying measure) in pan, and when the temperature is right, drop, again, one piece at a time, the chicken pieces into the pan. Make sure that the pan does not get crowded. Brown chicken on both sides, about three minutes each side. Take out from pan and lay on paper towels to drain off excess oil. Do likewise to remaining chicken pieces. (Take your time here, as the guests will still have to settle down after exploring items of interest all over your house. The smell of cooking food is an assurance that they will be fed in good time, so they would not worry that you are not there to entertain them as they try to figure out your toenail collection.)

Serve with hot rice or mashed potato and gravy.

Remember the marinade? You can boil a cup of it to serve as dipping sauce, replacing the ketchup or gravy.

Bon appetit.

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