This was written by lead producer Sonja Cho Swanson:
I thought I knew a thing or two about fried chicken: The buttermilk-brined, thick-crusted Southern fried chicken of church potlucks growing up, the extra-crispy, double-fried, garlicky Korean fried chicken that’s always served with beer, the can’t-stop-won’t-stop sear of Nashville hot chicken.
And then I tried Chef Hemant Kishore’s Indian fried chicken. What a revelation: Indian spices baked in, a dark and delightful crunch, and a squeeze of lime to wake everything up. Chef Hemant serves a few kinds of fried chicken, but the Trivandrum fried chicken, named for his hometown, most closely mirrors the street food he remembers eating growing up in the southern Indian state of Kerala. “It’s just called ‘chicken fry’ there,” he says. Unlike American fried chicken, which is typically brined and battered, Keralan chicken fry is marinated for 36 hours in yogurt and spices like chili, fennel, and curry leaf. It’s then battered with rice flour, giving it a darker, extra-crisp exterior.
Don’t forget to order extra dipping sauces, which were possibly the highlight of the meal. The tikka ranch is ranch sauce finally reaching its enlightened form. And our plant-based friends need not miss out: The battered cauliflower, based on an Indo-Chinese recipe, is similarly flavor-forward.
Hemant started popping up a few years ago, rotating through guest kitchens, serving bar bites, more traditional Indian dishes, and experimenting with fusion foods. But his most recent venture with Fried Chicken Fridays at the Parlour downtown seems to have struck a chord: Desert Companion magazine just named him best pop-up of the year. You too, can get a taste of this feted fried chicken: The next Fried Chicken Friday is tomorrow and you can preorder online here.