Zak Pelaccio's Curry Leaf Fried Chicken


[Photograph: Michael Schrom]

Reading through this recipe for Zak Pelaccio's Curry Leaf Fried Chicken from Eat with Your Hands, you might not believe that the finished product is really just good old fried chicken. After all, how many recipes call for brining your bird in cincalok, a Malaysian fermented shrimp sauce, and sprinkling it with curry leaves once it's out of the oil?

But after frying up a batch, we're on board with Pelaccio. All of the crispy skin and juicy meat that we love in a great fried chicken recipe is here, along with a few intriguing background notes from the brine as well as the unique herbal qualities that only come with fresh curry leaves. Exotic and familiar at the same time, and yes, good old fried chicken.

Recommended playlist and drinks pairing:

Listen: Burning Spear, Live, from '77--I'm not so into Malaysian music, and reggae is island music, too!

Drink: Cold island beer like Red Stripe or cold star fruit juice.

What Worked: Brining the chicken in the cincalok boosts savoriness beautifully and the fried curry leaves that finish this chicken push it over the top.

What Didn't: We're usually pretty happy with any fried chicken, and this one was wasn't just any fried chicken recipe. It's a great one. No changes here.

Suggested Tweaks: If you can't find cincalok, try a fish sauce brine.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of 'Eat with Your Hands' to give away.