I was once talking to a senior group at a Jewish community centre and mentioned shmaltz. It was as if I had used a swear word. An audible gasp ran round the room, followed by a mass sigh and, I swear, not a few tears springing to the eyes of those old enough to recall the joys and oys of shmaltz on black bread, shmaltz with chopped liver, shmaltz with gribenes. It made our collective arteries swell with pride and longing.
You get much the same reaction these days when you talk about deep-fried food. The food police might rightly frown, yet there are times when a little of what you fancy really does you good, and only a plate of chips or a piece of juicy, fried chicken can satisfy the soul with the double whammy savoury hit of salt and fat, lubricated with a squirt of tomato ketchup.
So, with Chanucah on the horizon, I have used matzah meal to give extra "Krispy Krunch" to Kosher Fried Chicken (KFC - so, sue me, Colonel) not to mention some "Katchy" alliteration. Serve with coleslaw and baked potatoes or fries, or go all Blanche DuBois and dish it up with mashed potatoes and leafy greens.
To show I am not just an old-fashioned girl, I am including a recipe for new wave Asian coleslaw - it is so healthy you could forget the KFC and stick to the salad. Only kidding. I mean Kidding.
● Oil for deep-frying
● 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
● 125g flour
● 125g medium matzah meal
● Quarter tsp baking powder
● A chicken cut into 8 pieces
● 1 tsp paprika
● 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
● Salt and black pepper
● Mix the flour, matzah meal, baking powder and seasonings in a bowl.
● Dip the chicken pieces in the egg whites and press into the flour mixture until coated.
● Shake off the excess and set aside on a rack.
● Pour enough oil into a large pan or deep-fat fryer to fry the chicken.
● Heat until it reaches 190° C.
● Working in batches, fry the chicken pieces until crispy and cooked through (approx 16 minutes).
● Remove the chicken and place it on paper towels to soak up any excess grease.
● 1 small white or red cabbage, shredded — or a mixture of both.
● 2 large carrots
● 1 bunch chopped spring onions, including the green
● 80ml unseasoned rice vinegar
● 80ml soy sauce
● 1 tbsp sesame oil
● 1 tbsp brown sugar
● 1 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
● Toasted peanuts or sesame seeds (optional)
● Combine the vegetables in a serving bowl.
● Whisk the dressing ingredients and pour over the vegetables.
● Toss to coat and chill until ready to serve. Toss again and garnish with the nuts or seeds if required.