I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

KFC Popcorn Chicken Challenge

The secret recipe of eleven different herbs and spices is purportedly guarded almost as closely as the Crown Jewels, so who was I to think that with a few simple key strokes, and something called Google I could come up with the recipe?

What I did come up with a long the way was some interesting facts about Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Colonel Harland Sanders was born in Henryville, Indiana in 1890.  His father died when he was only five years old, and this resulted in his mother having to go to work, and his becoming the cook of the family. After his mother remarried he ran away from home (because his stepfather beat him) and he enlisted in the army (by falsifying his birthdate).

Over the years Sanders held many jobs but he sealed his fate when, at the age of 40, he started serving chicken dishes to customers from his service station in Corbin, Kentucky.  The year was 1930 and America was in the midst of The Great Depression.  This was the birth of Kentucky Fried Chicken!!!  His original recipe was prepared in an iron skillet and took over 30 minutes to make.  Even though it took time, it was very popular, and by 1936 he was granted the honorary title of "Kentucky Colonel" in recognition of his contribution to the state's cuisine.  The next year he expanded his restaurant, bought a motel, and the rest as they say is history.

By 1940 he had devised what we now know as the "secret recipe'.  He wrote this down on a piece of paper and signed his name to it!  It has been very heavily guarded all these years and even now, apparently, portions of the secret recipe are prepared in several locations so that no one group of people knows all the ingredients involved (very tricky).  The key element to this deliciously moist chicken is in the cooking method - pressure frying - something that I was not going to be able to replicate, even if I could crack the code of spices.

I found a website proclaiming to have the secret recipe KFC Chicken Recipe.  Here they had it for all to see.  It was actually a pretty complicated recipe - the quantities they gave were for 100g of chicken - so after many calculations this is what I did to try and replicate the recipe.  If you go to the secret recipe you will find that it calls for wild marjoram and sweet marjoram and kitchen sage - I wasn't sure what these were so I used regular marjoram and regular sage.  It also called for garlic salt and onion salt.  I used minced onion, and garlic powder.  Apparently analysts who have tested the spice mixture say that is mainly composed of salt, sugar and MSG.  Well there certainly were several salty components to the spice mixture!!

Secret Spice Mixture

1 tbs dried rosemary leaves
1 tbs + 1 tsp majoram leaves
1 tbs sage leaves (or powder if you can't find)
1 tsp dried ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
3 tbs brown sugar
3 tbs dried parsley
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbs paprika powder (I used Hungarian)
2 tbs garlic powder
2 tbs onion flakes
1 tbs sea salt
2 tbs powdered chicken stock mix
40g dry tomato soup mix

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of your grinder/food processor, and grind until all ingredients are of the same texture.

Very pretty - almost like making one of those layered coloured sands in a bottle thing!!

Store this mixture in an airtight container - this is your base for the secret recipe!!!

Now comes the fun part.

You need to mix the secret herbs and spices with flour - they give the ratio of 30g of spice mixture to 100g of plain flour.

Now I am making a large quantity of popcorn chicken (I had 2kg - yes I know - way too much - but we have leftovers and they say they want a popcorn chicken pizza tonight!!)  So here is the ratio I used......

90g spice mix to 300g flour.

To your blended spice/flour mix you then add:

2 tsp powdered sugar
2 ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder

Mix these ingredients all together in a large bowl.  You will also need

500g panko crumbs

2kg chicken tenderloins

6 eggs
6 tbs milk

I have used chicken tenderloins - I thought that these would be nice and tender and would not require too much prep.

You need to make an egg wash - they said only egg whites - but I used whole eggs, and regular milk.  In another bowl mix the eggs and the milk.  Beat the mixture with a fork until it is a smooth consistency.

Place the panko crumbs on a large tray.

Add the chicken pieces to the flour mixture.  Coat well, then set aside.

Put the chicken pieces into the flour mixture, and coat each piece well.  Shake to remove any excess flour.

Taking one piece of chicken at a time, dip the flour coated chicken pieces into the egg/milk mixture making sure to coat the chicken completely.  Allow the excess liquuid to drip off.

Now dip the coated chicken into the panko crumbs - coat completely in the crumbs.

*** The recipe said to repeat this process - yes back into the egg-milk mixture, then back into the panko crumbs.

*** I did not do this - way too time consuming, plus we would have run out of panko crumbs!!

Place the coated chicken pieces onto a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper.  Spray the chicken pieces with olive oil spray.

Bake the chicken pieces in an oven that has been preheated to 200C.  Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the pieces over, spray again with the olive oil spray, and bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until golden.

Alternatively you can pressure fry them as KFC does it (if you know what pressure frying even is!!??)

Wow so many ingredients - I am sure I scared a lot of you off with all the laborious method too!!!

So how does it measure up??

The one good thing was that it was baked, not fried, but in the end I really think that the frying adds to that special flavour that is KFC.  The flavour was OK - but not really "KFC".  The kids liked it, but would I do it again???  I do have a lot of the "secret herbs and spices mix" left over so I guess I will do some rendition of it again in the near future.  To be honest though, I think next time I will just google KFC and find the nearest outlet near me!!!  Less mess, less stress!!!

A fun night was had by all though - many hands were used in the preparation of this meal.  I would like to thank my helper Miss Twinkles, and my unbiased taste tester Mr JD.

The true coup for the night was the Devils Food Cake that you will find posted later......

By the way .....the other KFC fact that I forgot to include was that Colonel Sanders sold his entire franchising operation in 1964 for the sum of $2 million USD - which in today's currency would be worth over $14 million!!!  His nephew attempted to cash in on the family's claim to fried chicken and turned his franchised store into a spin off called "Lees Famous Recipe Chicken".  Obviously not as famous as his uncle - well not outside the US anyway!!!

KFC facts found on Wikipedia


  1. What a great story!! Good on you for giving it a go, and trying a "healthy" version of Kentucky Fried Chicken!

  2. Thanks!! It was a fun project!! Glad you like the post!

  3. CFC could be the next big name in fried chicken (or CBC as you baked yours). I'm not going to tell my boyfriend about this post as he'll beg me to try and make your recipe (he's a KFC fiend) and it looks beyond my abilities!

  4. What an interesting post and a recipe worth trying. It is book marked! Diane

  5. Pressure frying is "broasting"