Food,  Lifestyle

Back to Basics: Brining

I’ve been telling people to brine chicken for as long as I’ve known my dear friend K.

She first introduced me to brining meats at her annual Christmas soiree. I still remember the way I felt when I sank my teeth into what was probably the best roast chicken I’ve ever had to date – the skin was crisp and golden and the meat was so juicy that my tastebuds sent signals to my mind to blurt “I’m not leaving your house until you tell me how you made this.”

She laughed, said “Brined chicken and lots of butter,” and gave me the recipe. I left just before dawn only becuase we were busy talking the night away and making it very clear (albeit with a slur) that this friendship feels transcendental to us both – kind of like how we both feel about brining meats.

Here’s why:

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Winna winna chikin dinna #NadSoFry #NadInDaDapur

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Two very important reasons to start brining today – flavour and texture.

Cooking forces the internal juices out of the meat. When you steep it in a savoury bath beforehand, the salt in the brine will help relax the protein strands in the meat while retenting the moisture in it. It’s kind of like giving the meat a really tasty deep-tissue massage.

What do I brine?

So far I’ve only been brining chicken and turkey, but the internet tells me that you could do it with any piece of drier or leaner meats like turkey, a rack of ribs or even shrimp. Will update once I get around to brining these.

How do I do this?

What I usually do is dissolve 1/4 cup of salt, a tablespoon of sugar in 1 litre of warm water and then submerge a whole chicken in there once it has completely cooled before letting sit in the fridge overnight. If I’m making chicken breast, I’d let it sit in the brine for about an hour else the texture gets a little too mushy. When the mood strikes, I’ll add some aromatics like black peppercorns, lemon peel, bay leaves – whatever I have in my kitchen that I feel might give the chicken an extra boost of flavour, basically.

Once the meat has been brined, I take it out of the brine, give it a little rinse to remove any surface, pat it dry and let it come down to room temperature before cooking it however I want.

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#NadSoFry fried up some #NadFriedChicken with a remastered recipe! I’ve even included an all new brining recipe I’ve been using as of late (and loving). Honestly, it’s unreal. I’ve been brining chicken 3-4 times a week, #facts. #🍗 🍗🍗 . . . . 💦Brine: Just enough water to cover 1 whole chicken (cut into 8 pieces) A dash of soy sauce 2 tbsp salt 2 tbsp sugar 2 bay leaves Just a drizzle of olive oil . *boil ingredients for brine together and let it cool completely before immersing chicken pieces in. Leave to brine for 4 hours in the fridge or overnight (don’t exceed 24 hours). . . . 🥣Flour mix: 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1 cup corn flour 1 tbsp salt 1 tsp white pepper 1 tbsp black pepper 1 tbsp celery salt 1 tsp dry mustard 1 tsp onion granules 1 tbsp garlic granules 1 tbsp paprika 1 tsp oregano 1 tsp cayenne/chilli powder (add more if you want it spicy spicy) . . . . 🥚Egg wash: . 1 egg + dash of water (feel free to add a dash of paprika and oregano, I do this sometimes) . Mix well. . . . 🔍Method: . 1. Rinse brined chicken thoroughly, pat dry. 2. Heat oil for deep frying (set on medium high or until oil reaches 180•C) 3. Dip chicken pieces in egg wash 4. Coat in flour mix 5. Let it rest on wire rack for a few mins so the flour coating kinda holds on to the chicken pieces longer. 6. Fry em up for 10 mins (12 mins if the chicken pieces are larger). 7. Double fry (crank heat all the way up) chicken pieces for 1 min (30 sec on each side) for extra crispiness. 8. Rest fried chicken on wire rack (Psa: Never ever EVER rest fried chicken on paper towels. Only do this if you prefer soggy fried chicken batter, in which case, I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure we can’t ever be friends.) 9. #NadTip: serve with lime and #hotsauce on the side! @amj3dm likes his with some Dijon as well. Enjoy!! 😋😋😋

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Are you with me on #TeamBrine? Let me know in the comments below.

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