For added crunch and flavor, roll chicken in crushed nuts before frying. Alex’s nut-crusted fried chicken on a stick is especially good with pico de gallo.
Nuts? Yes, nuts. Crushed and salted. I know, I know. It sounds lightyears away from the usual formula of dredging chicken pieces in flour, dipping them in beaten eggs and rolling them in bread crumbs (or corn flakes), or the alternate formula of flour-buttermilk-flour and all other imaginable variations.
But nuts make an unbelievable coating. While bread crumbs or crushed corn flakes give off a light crispiness, nuts add flavor and an altogether different kind of texture. There’s crunch and there’s a subtle creaminess because of the high oil content of the nuts.
And guess what? Because nuts have different flavors, if you use a different nut every time you cook nut-crusted fried chicken, your chicken will have a unique flavor every time. Alex used cashew nuts for this recipe but you may choose walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia… whatever nut your heart desires.
Do the nuts have to be toasted before the battered chicken is rolled in them? No, there is no need to. The nuts will toast during frying. If you toast them beforehand, they might turn too brown by the time the fried chicken is cooked.
Are these nut-crusted fried chicken on a stick meant to be an appetizer or a main course? Treat it as either. We did. Although the photos show a plate that looks like its contents are meant as an appetizer (or even a snack), we actually ate the chicken with a little rice on the side.
- 6 to 8 chicken thigh fillets
- 1 tablespoon lemon and pepper seasoning (store-bought)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 cup cold beer or ginger ale
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups crushed cashew nuts
- cooking oil for deep frying
- bamboo cocktail skewers
Wipe the chicken fillets dry with paper towels and cut each into four pieces.
Place the cut chicken fillets in a bowl, add the lemon and pepper seasoning and mix well. Note that if your lemon and pepper seasoning has low salt content, you will want to add about a teaspoon of salt to the chicken at this point.
Cover the bowl and allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Make the batter by mixing together the flour, starch, beer, pepper, baking powder and about a teaspoonful of salt.
Place the crushed cashew nuts in a shallow bowl.
Thread 3 to 4 chicken pieces with a skewer. Repeat for the rest of the chicken.
In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil to 350F.
Working with one skewer at a time, dip the chicken in batter, allow the excess to drip off then roll in the crushed nuts.
Drop the nut-crusted chicken in hot oil. Cook the chicken in batches, 4 to five skewers at a time to maintain the temperature of the oil, for five to six minutes or until the batter is golden and the nuts are lightly browned.
Scoop out the skewered chicken as they cook and lay them on a stack of paper towels to remove excess oil.
Serve the nut-crusted fried chicken on a stick while hot.
If you want to serve the chicken as a main course and you’re a rice eater, and this is something that Asians will understand, here are some suggestions:
Do you prefer bread over rice? Try these.