This Indian Fried Chicken Recipe Is Heating Up in New York City
The team behind GupShup on East 18th Street gives us the skinny on bringing a taste of Bombay to the Big Apple
In the final round of the American fast-food fried chicken bracket that Eater published last month, which would have been loads of fun to research, the half-drumstick-half-wing combo from South Korean chain Bonchon faced off against the Chickenjoy from Philippines eatery Jollibee. Spoiler alert: Jollibee’s Chickenjoy was the winner.
As the 16-chain bracket and its chicken champion make clear, the American fried poultry market is filled with plenty of delicious international options. Luckily for fried fowl fans, that doesn’t just apply to chicken chains.
Case in point: the miniature Indian fried chicken empire India native Jimmy Rizvi presides over in NYC.
The owner of GupShup near Union Square and Chote Miya in both Dumbo and Chelsea Market, Rizvi has a number of different versions of Indian fried chicken on the menus of his restaurants, including spicy and mild varieties.
At GupShup, the fried chicken is served with a sweet and spicy honey chili sauce and coated with breading made from gram flour (ground chickpeas). The result is flavorful chicken with a softer texture that is a bit closer to a traditional nugget than a conventional piece of fried chicken. Ofter served as a grab-and-go street food in India, GupShup’s style of fried chicken can be presented on a piece of replica newspaper dated August 15 of 1947, the first Indian Independence Day.
“In India, it comes in a newspaper too so you can hold it in your hand and eat out of it. The idea of GupShup is to present street food in a very beautiful way with some amazing flavors,” Rizvi tells InsideHook. “We don’t tone the flavor up or down or spice anything up when there is no need. The authenticity of the flavors stays intact. We’re not doing any kind of fusion or molecular gastronomy.”
What Rizvi and his team, which includes GupShup chef Zahir Khan, are doing is trying to present something with sufficient spice that fans of hot chicken might enjoy — but that also doesn’t sacrifice flavor. “It’s not really comparable to American fried chicken. When you eat it, you can feel the aroma of curry leaves and the fennel powder,” Khan says. “But, if you add too much spice, you block the flavors. Our food is balanced. It has that spiciness, but you get the flavors of the dish.”
Rizvi takes it one step further. “I would call it a flavor bomb,” he says. Well, bombs away. Here’s the recipe.
GupShup’s Indian Fried Chicken (Serves 4)
Ingredients for the chicken
- 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast tender, cut into ¾ inch pieces • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ tsp. coriander seeds
- ½ tsp. fennel powder
- ½ tsp. yellow chili powder
- ½ tsp. carom seeds
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
- 12 fresh curry leaves chopped, or more to taste
- 3 green chilies, seeded and chopped
- 3 green chilies for garnishing
- 5 curry leaves for garnishing
- 5 Tbsp. gram flour
- ½ cup water
- Neutral oil for frying
Ingredients for the honey chili sauce
- 1 cup honey
- ½ Tbsp. onion seeds
- 1 tsp. red chili flakes
- 1 tsp. red chili powder
- ½ tsp. dried ginger powder
- 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger grated
- 2 Tbsp. oil
Ingredients for the magic masala
- 200 grams dry garlic chutney
- 100 grams togarashi powder
- 50 grams tajin seasoning
- 25 grams red chili powder
Directions for the honey chili sauce
- In a small bowl, stir together the honey, red chili powder and dried ginger powder.
- Put the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let it warm up for about 30 seconds, then add onion seeds, red chili flakes and cook for 15-30 seconds. Then add grated ginger and cook until fragrant while stirring continuously for one minute.
- Quickly re-stir the honey mixture and pour it into the saucepan, bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add water if needed to achieve desired consistency.
Directions for the magic masala
- Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Magic masala can be stored in an airtight, light-free container for 3 months.
Directions for the chicken and assembly
- Place chicken in a medium bowl, add gram flour, salt, turmeric powder, coriander seeds, carom seeds, fennel powder, yellow chili powder, and vegetables then mix together. Then add lemon juice, oil, and water and mix until the chicken is completely coated. Keep in the refrigerator.
- When ready to cook, pour the vegetable oil in a skillet until it is about ¾ inch deep. Heat to 350 degrees and fry chicken pieces until they are no longer pink in the center and juices run clear; about 7 to 10 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees. Set fried chicken aside.
- Fry the remaining curry leaves and green chilies in the oil for 10 seconds.
- Transfer the fried chicken transfer to plates and sprinkle with magic masala.
- Garnish with fried curry leaves and green chilies. Serve with honey chili sauce.
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