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Too afraid of deep-frying

Friday, December 4, 2009

I am... I am terrified of deep-frying. I've had a lot of accidents with boiling oil but the worst one happened a few months ago when I was making churros for the chilli challenge in the Don't Call Me Chef column. One of the Mexican doughnuts exploded, shooting both ends out of the pot in opposite directions and spattering hot oil onto the right side of my face (I quickly turned my face to the left at the sound of the explosion but still caught the impact), neck and part of my chest (I have a photograph and contemplated posting it here but I think it may be inappropriate in a food blog, even if it has everything to do with cooking. Anyway, only faint scars remain on my face, but the invisible ones that I bear are more permanent).

 Oven-fried chicken and stuffed potatoes

So I avoid this cooking method for my safety but there's something to be said about the flavour and texture you get from deep-frying. However, you can get almost the same effect in the oven. For those who think oil is bad (not me), this chicken recipe will suit you since the only fat in it is in the chicken skin (and even that can be removed... but let's live a little, yes?) 

I have to admit I was inspired to make this after watching Nigella Lawson (she does get on my nerves sometimes -- no one is THAT goddess-y in the kitchen!) prepare her Ritzy Chicken Nuggets and Blood and Guts Potatoes on one of her cooking shows. However, I left out the tomato ketchup in and on the potatoes -- because I am not a child and don't need "blood" to tempt me to eat -- and added za'atar to the chicken marinade. I also used two free-range chicken legs (cut into three) with skin on and bones left in instead of breast fillets.

You can get the za'atar spice blend from Middle Eastern grocers but I make my own (the amounts are mostly to taste, but it's about a large pinch of each spice):

Dried thyme
Toasted cumin seeds
Toasted sesame seeds

Here's are two more recipes, but with slightly different ingredients.

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