Sold in markets throughout Egypt, dukkah is a blend of nuts and seasonings that can be used in an endless variety of ways. Try sprinkling it on fresh vegetables, stirring it into olive oil to make a thick dip or using it to coat fish fillets before roasting them in the oven. Here, it’s stirred into flour to make the most flavorful coating ever for fried chicken. For the best results, make sure your hazelnuts and spices are as fresh as possible.
Dukkah-Spiced Fried Chicken
For the dukkah:
- 3 Tbs. sesame seeds
- 1 Tbs. whole coriander seeds
- 1 Tbs. whole cumin seeds
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) toasted hazelnuts
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
For the chicken:
- 6 cups (30 oz./940 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbs. kosher salt
- 3 Tbs. freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 chicken, about 4 lb. (2 kg), cut into 8 serving pieces
- Canola oil for frying
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
1. To make the dukkah, in a small fry pan over medium heat, combine the sesame, coriander and cumin seeds. Toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the spices to a plate and let cool.
2. In a small food processor, combine the toasted seeds, hazelnuts, salt and pepper and process until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 cups (15 oz./475 g) of the flour with 1 Tbs. of the kosher salt and 1 Tbs. of the pepper. In another large bowl, stir together the buttermilk, 1 Tbs. of the kosher salt and 1 Tbs. of the pepper until blended and the salt is dissolved.
4. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, toss the chicken in the flour mixture to coat. Transfer the chicken to the buttermilk mixture, turning it to coat it completely, then letting any excess buttermilk drop off. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet as each piece is coated. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
5. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 15 minutes before frying. Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
6. Fill a Dutch oven or other wide, heavy pot halfway with canola oil and place on the stove over high heat until it reaches 350°F (180°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. Place a wire rack on top of a clean baking sheet.
7. While the oil is heating, in a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 cups (15 oz./475 g) flour, the remaining 1 Tbs. kosher salt, the remaining 1 Tbs. pepper, the baking powder and the dukkah mixture.
8. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, toss the chicken in the flour-dukkah mixture, turning each piece to coat it thoroughly. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pot, add the chicken to the pot and fry until the chicken turns a deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature between 340° and 360°F (171° and 182°C). Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breasts. If it registers lower than 165°F (74°C), transfer the baking sheet to the oven and continue cooking until the chicken reaches 165°F, 5 to 10 minutes.
9. Sprinkle the hot chicken lightly with the flaky sea salt and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen