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Photo: Perzen Patel / Graphics Archi Banal
Photo: Perzen Patel / Graphics Archi Banal

KaiOctober 16, 2022

Recipe: Chicken farcha bites

Photo: Perzen Patel / Graphics Archi Banal
Photo: Perzen Patel / Graphics Archi Banal

These spicy chicken farcha bites are perfect for passing around at a gathering – and there’s a meat-free option too.

I dislike KFC. Like truly. I have no idea what those 11 secret spices are but in my book they are clearly not the right spices if the chicken tastes so bland.

Instead, I’d like to introduce you to the humble farcha.

“Farcha” is Gujarati for a large piece of meat that’s deep fried. The original chicken farcha served at weddings was chicken drumsticks marinated overnight, crumbed, coated in egg wash and deep fried. Crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside with a kick of spice that has you licking your lips.

I was eating farchas long before I was introduced to any Korean fried chicken, buttermilk fried chicken, KFC or Chicken McNuggets. One day a catering client asked me if I could serve them for a cocktail party. And since chomping on a whole chicken drumstick while standing and chatting is not quite in style, we swapped the leg for biggish pieces of boneless thigh and our farcha bites were born.

And there’s good news for vegetarians: you can use the same spices and technique below on portobello mushrooms and create delicious mushroom farchas, too.

CHICKEN FARCHA BITES

  • 500gm boneless chicken thighs cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander-cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • Squeeze of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 cups coarse semolina
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Salt to taste
  • Sunflower or rapeseed oil for deep frying
  • Optional: 1 cup buttermilk or 2-3 tbsp plain yoghurt

If you have the time, begin by giving your chicken a buttermilk soak: cut your chicken into 2-inch (5cm) pieces and store in a glass bowl. Add salt and buttermilk. If you can’t find buttermilk, you can make a substitute by mixing 2-3 tbsp of yoghurt into a cup of water or 1 cup milk with the juice of a lemon. Soak the chicken for at least four, ideally eight hours. This step is optional but it allows your chicken to get extra juicy.

Next, drain off the buttermilk and marinate the chicken in all the spices including the lemon juice. Allow to marinate for a few hours. If you’re not doing the buttermilk soak, marinate overnight.

Before you begin frying, set up your frying station. Beat your eggs and season with salt. In another plate, have the semolina ready. Also, make sure you bring the chicken back to room temperature before frying.

Heat up the oil. Make sure you’re using a deep saucepan so that the entire chicken is covered in oil when you dunk it in.

Coat the chicken in the semolina. Dip it in the egg mixture and add it to the oil. Repeat until you have 7-8 pieces or your saucepan is full.

Fry the chicken until it’s golden brown. Once it’s out, pat it gently with paper towl to soak up the excess oil.

Enjoy hot with tomato ketchup, barbecue sauce or, as in my home, some Indian coriander and mint chutney.

 

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