Everyone loves fried chicken. I have yet to meet someone who can look me straight in the eye and say, "fried chicken is disgusting." So it's only expected that when Nashville fried chicken restaurants started popping up nationwide, it was an immediate hit. I've made Nashville fried chicken several times myself and can honestly say, it's damn good. Today, I wanted to put an Asian twist on the dish and turn it into Szechuan Nashville fried chicken. Add some Asian spices to the mix and you have something a little different but still very delicious!
Szechuan Nashville Fried Chicken
- 4 chicken quarters 4 drumsticks and 4 thighs, skin-on, bone-in
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup pickle brine
- 1 egg
- 2 Thai chile sliced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup oil
- ½ cup butter melted
- 1 tablespoon ground Szechuan peppercorn
- 1 tablespoon Korean chile flakes
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Cut the chicken quarters into drumsticks and thighs. Toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon salt and lay on a plate. Cover the chicken and chill overnight in the fridge.
- Make the marinade. Whisk together 1 cup buttermilk with ¼ cup pickle brine, 1 egg, 2 Thai chiles, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon ground white pepper. Add the chicken, stirring to coat. Marinate the chicken for 2-4 hours in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, scraping off any extra buttermilk mixture. Coat the chicken in flour, shaking off the excess. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes to dry out the coating.
- Pour ¼ cup oil into a baking sheet and preheat in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully lay the chicken on the baking sheet with the hot oil and drizzle another 2 tablespoon oil directly on the chicken. Oven-fry the chicken for 30 minutes or until browned and the juices run clear.
- Meanwhile, make the spiced butter. Combine ½ cup melted butter with 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns, 1 tablespoon Korean chile flakes, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon coriander, and ¼ teaspoon ginger. Brush the sauce on the chicken, making sure to coat both sides. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
In order to keep this Szechuan Nashville fried chicken a variation of the original Nashville fried chicken, I kept some of the traditional techniques the same. First, salt the chicken overnight. This will yield in a beautifully moist chicken. Use skin-on, bone-in chicken for the best results. If you prefer, you can use chicken breast but I'm more of a drumstick and thigh type of gal.
Second, marinate the chicken in a buttermilk marinade. Normally, Nashville fried chicken requires you to marinate the chicken in buttermilk with some Tabasco, egg, and pickle brine. I'm adding some Asian ingredients to the mix to add some more flavor including soy sauce, Thai chile, white pepper, and ground ginger.
After about 2 hours, the chicken is finally ready to be cooked. Coat the chicken in flour and let it sit for 15 minutes to allow the coating to dry out. This will help the skin get extra crispy.
I chose to oven-fry the chicken but you can also deep fry them. To oven-fry, first preheat ¼ cup oil in a baking sheet for about 10 minutes. I discovered that by having already hot oil in the baking sheet, you don't have to flip over the chicken because the bottom will get crispy from the hot oil. If you don't preheat the oil, the bottoms of the chicken skin will get soggy.
While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. This sauce is what gives the chicken all the flavor. I stuck with a modest amount of Szechuan peppercorns and Korean chile flakes but if you want to kick up the spice, add more! This recipe makes a somewhat mild Szechuan Nashville fried chicken.
Brush on a liberal amount of the sauce on both sides of the chicken and garnish with scallions. I had some smoked sea salt that I sprinkled on top for a little extra something.
How does this Szechuan Nashville fried chicken compare to the original? The Asian influences definitely shine with the numbing effects of Szechuan peppercorns coating your lips. I personally think that this recipe yields an even more flavorful chicken than the original. If you like Szechuan food and fried chicken, you may fall in love with this recipe!
For more fried chicken inspiration check out this Korean fried chicken recipe!