BAIK CHICKEN RECIPE.
Have you heard about Al Baik chicken – it’s a deliciously crispy, perfectly spiced fried chicken recipe (well, technically it’s “broasted”, but this homemade version is fried!). It’s sure to be something you make over, and over, and over again.
Okay…There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the Al Baik franchises, or of Al Baik chicken (sometimes called broast), despite it being amongst the most popular fried chicken restaurants in the world. Ask anyone who has lived in Saudi Arabia what their top 3 memories of the kingdom are, and I can pretty much guarantee Al Baik’s fried chicken will feature.
In my case, the love for Al Baik is almost comical. Every time I’d fly back to Saudi Arabia from boarding school, my first stop on the way home from the airport would be Al Baik. I’d get home, say hi to mum and dad, and sit myself down in the living room with a box of fried chicken.
WHAT IS AL BAIK CHICKEN?
Al Baik is a fried chicken restaurant franchise founded in Saudi Arabia in 1974 (though it wasn’t officially registered as a trademark until 1986). Though the restaurants also sell seafood, the franchise is iconic for its broasted (that is, a mix of pressure cooking and deep frying) chicken. Most meals are served alongside fries and garlic sauce.
Of course, I’d be wrong to say that I’ve made a perfect copy of Al Baik’s fried chicken recipe here. I haven’t (don’t trust anyone that tells you they have a perfect copycat recipe that you can easily make at home for any fast food.
However, I do have a pretty darn good approximation of it. I’ve gone with recreating the spicy chicken option (because something was missing every time I tried making the non-spicy version), and I’m confident that you’ll be happy making this recipe over and over again as a means to scratch that Al Baik itch.
DON’T FRY THE CHICKEN…WHILE IT’S STILL COLD
Let your chicken come down to room temperature before getting started. Cooking the chicken right out of the fridge results in uneven cooking as the cold of the chicken will actually cool your cooking oil. No bueno, bestie.
SWITCHING OUT THE OIL
I didn’t realise this would be a common issue many people face (because it is technically changing the recipe), but some years ago a friend told me about how his fried chicken tasted awfully bitter. He initially blamed the recipe he had used, but upon closer inspection, we discovered something:
3 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons sriracha, divided
1 (approx. 2 ½ lbs) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 large eggs
1/3 cup water
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tablespoons sea salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp garlic powder
In a large bowl, stir together buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the sriracha. Submerge the chicken pieces into the buttermilk mixture.
Cover (cling film, a lid, or foil are all fine) and refrigerate overnight.
Whisk together eggs, water, and the remaining tablespoon of sriracha in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, stir together flour, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, paprika, ground cinnamon, and garlic powder in a large bowl.
Into a large Dutch oven, pour oil (you want enough that it’s about 2 ½ inches deep), and heat to 325 F over medium-high.
Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, and dip the chicken pieces one by one into the egg mixture. Dredge the wet chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour. Dip again in egg mixture, and dredge in flour again, once again shaking off any excess flour.
Carefully add the breaded chicken to hot oil, and fry until golden brown and cooked through – around 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain on a wire rack (over paper towels). Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
Enjoy your homemade Al Baik chicken!