My Moroccan-Spiced Fried Chicken for Chanukah
This chicken is not served in Morocco, but the spices are of the region and the flavor is big and satisfying.
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 allspice berries
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 lemons, halved
- 8 fresh thyme sprigs
- 8 fresh parsley sprigs
- 4 quarts water
- 6 whole chicken breasts, each about 1 pound, split and then the halves cut in half crosswise; 12 chicken thighs and 12 drumsticks; or any combination of chicken parts totaling about 5 pounds (24 pieces)
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- Spice Mix
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon cayenne or 1 teaspoon Maras pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Canola oil for deep frying
- Combine all of the brine ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl or plastic container, pour the cooled brine over them, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Discard the brine.
- Top 2 large sheet pans with racks. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until blended. In a second bowl, stir together the flour and all of the spice-mix ingredients. Divide the seasoned flour between 2 shallow bowls or deep platters. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces in the flour, coating both sides and tapping off the excess. Next, dip into the beaten egg, allowing the excess to drip off, and then finally dip in the second bowl of seasoned flour. As each piece is dipped, set it aside on a rack. Let the pieces stand for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the coating to set.
- Pour the oil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches into a large, deep sauté pan and heat to 375 degrees. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line 1 or 2 large sheet pans with paper towels. In batches, slip the chicken pieces into the hot oil and fry, turning as needed, until golden on all sides and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to the prepared sheet pan(s) and keep warm in the oven until all the chicken is fried. Arrange the chicken on a platter and serve hot.
- Reprinted with permission from The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home by Joyce Goldstein (University of California Press, 2016).