Fried Chicken & all that Jazz

To say my sons got an obsession about fried chicken is an understatement. He’s 16 and fried chicken wings is his speciality –  marinated in spiced buttermilk, dipped in a secret blend of seasoned flour and then deep fried until crisp tender, juiciness.

Of course, I get a little irritated my house smells like a chip shop! especially when he forgets the Fried Chicken 3 rules – open the window, extractor on full, doors closed. 

I suppose it starter a while back when I became an avid fan of Diner, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network. I always loved the one’s when Guy Fieri visited a traditional American Diner where they cooked all the classics, including southern fried chicken.

I armed my-self with a plethora of tips, came up with the ultimate ZFC (Zena Fried Chicken), cooked it up MUMA style and served my family in our American Diner (I said I was a tad obsessed)!!! 

Fried chicken when its good, is so good – there is a real reason why fried chicken shops have sprung up in every orifice of the world.

So to make it juicy you can do one of 2 things – either soak it overnight in a brine or soak it overnight in buttermilk. Both help retain juiciness – more so the brine. Proper fried chicken is simply dipped in seasoned flour – not breadcrumb and not battered. You can even crisp your coating up with adding corn meal, adding a subtle crispier texture. But it’s the secret blend of spices that simply has to adorn the flour to make it extra finger licking. I like paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, dried oregano, a touch of cayenne and sometimes ginger. My son goes for the onion and garlic powder – which I hate on account of its cheat-iness. 

I like to buttermilk – with fresh onions, garlic and spice (as above, but maybe with a cheeky amount of turmeric for extra colour & goodness) going in the mix to impregnate extra flavour. If your savy you’ll add chunky onion rings – and then when you come to fry your chicken you can fry them too in a double dusting of fine or course cornmeal, depending on how crispy you like them. Plus adding them over night to the buttermilk tenderises them, making them more palatable.

Of course, it’s not the same in a fast food outlet, it’s not quite good enough – greasy, left in a warmer, slightly fake tasting, more bone and gristle than meat. Plus biting in to a ‘skinny, fatty’ (yes, that can be a thing!) battery reared chicken, doesn’t give you pleasure. 

So, when I teach my American Classic cookery course – my Fried chicken shines. But when it comes to grabbing some outside my House of Soul – that’s a different matter.

Then I thought Where in Norwich can you go for 

Good Fried chicken.

A few years ago, Woolf and Social opened Woolf and Bird in the city, unfortunately it closed its doors within a year but it did serve the best fried chicken ever. Tasty Asian fried chicken with amazing homemade dipping sauces. 

The Chicken Shop– I first noticed the Chicken Shop in Cambridge, then it opened its doors in Norwich’s London Street, NR21LA. They also have 2 shops in London. 

They invited me in for a bloggers taster session, I met with the staff and was treated to a white plastic tray of tasters. Ji’s chicken shop cooks authentic Taiwanese chicken to order, making it really fresh tasting. I especially liked the chicken breast strips (£4.50) – coated in penko crumbs. The chicken popcorn (£4.50) were good too, but came in another crumb mix. They also batter too, depending on what you order (battered sweet potatoes (£3.50). 

What I really liked about it all was the help yourself seasoning shakes on the counter – Matcha (acquired taste), Cheese (unusual but good), curry (my fav – a Thai red curry flavour), seaweed (great flavours of omami), spicy chilli (yes, it was), salt & pepper and plum (a sweet shake) – they lifted it for me. Next time my chickens getting a tad of salt and pepper, a little of the curry and a lot of the seaweed.

They also sell Taiwanese bubble teas – milk or fruit, bubbles or jelly, green or black, hi, med or low sugar – if you don’t know what to go for try the Mango Fruit Tea made with green tea as a medium sweet with Tapioca pearls (black bubbles) – prices from £3 – 4, plus 50p for extras like bubbles / jelly.

They also make Wok fried to order noodles at £6.50 a box (they’ll make it spicy, unless you ask them not to add chilli or for a mild one). Plum chips (£2), breaded prawns (£4) plus help yourself salad from the mini salad bar for £3.

Eat in or takeaway. They also serve Halal chicken.

Gonzos– 68 London Street, Nr21JT

Let’s not beat around the bush! – Gonzo’s serve the best chicken wings around. £6.99 a lb or 25p per wing between 3-6pm Monday to Friday with a drink.

Over 20 flavours to choose from – the base wings are marinated, floured and deep fried – then tossed in a sauce of your choice, making them hot, moist, sticky and moorishly divine. I love the Blue cheese & Walnut the best, but have also had the Maple & Bacon, Tandoori & Mango, Hickory Smoked BBQ, Nutty professor sate – – all to yummy pleasure. But they also do hot, Asian, chocolate and plainer ones too.

Blue Joanna’s– 103 Unthanks Road, NR22PE

They make an equally delicious, even more crispier and even more sticky = Sticky Chilli Chicken wings £5, sit in only.

The Grosvenor, Fish & Chip Shop – 

Offers Chicky Chicky Bang Bang – crispy battered chicken quarter smothered with their own bang bang spicy sauce and chips for £6.50.

The Grosvenor just knows how it’s done! Takeaway or seat in.

The Coach & Horses, Thorpe– you’ll find buttermilk chicken, cornflake or penko crumb chicken stuffed in to the Godzilla burger & Fried chicken & Waffles. All served with a plump portion of home cut fries and home slaw. 

Want to add your favourite– – message me with a paragraph of who, why and where.

By Zena Leech-Calton ©