How to cook crumbed chicken
Here's how to make sure you get crunchy crumbed chicken every time.
- Heat some oil in a pan. Wait until the oil is hot – between 170°C and 180°C is best – before you add the chicken.
- Fry the chicken until the crumbs are golden brown. It should take about 8 to 10 minutes to cook both sides. Make sure you cook the chicken for long enough – if you don’t, the crumbs will be soggy and the meat undercooked. If the crumbs brown too quickly, reduce the heat.
- Pop the cooked chicken onto some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
How to get golden chicken skin
Getting golden, crispy skin is actually fairly easy when you know what to do.
- First, check that the chicken’s skin is completely dry. Use a paper towel to remove any moisture.
- Next, generously rub the chicken with oil and season well. Put the chicken into a preheated oven to cook.
- Uncover the chicken 20 to 30 minutes before the end of your cooking time. Put it onto a shallow baking tray to allow the dry heat to come into contact with as much skin as possible. You can also put the chicken onto an oven rack over a tray.
Pop the chicken back into the oven and roast until the skin is golden and crisp.
How to defrost a whole chicken
Defrosting a whole chicken takes a bit of planning.
- It’s best to thaw a frozen chicken overnight in the fridge.
- Put the chicken in a large bowl or on a plate to prevent the juices from dripping in the fridge.
- A good rule of thumb to follow: 500g of chicken takes about five hours to thaw.
- Always thaw chicken completely before cooking. Check inside the cavity to make sure there is no more ice. Also check that the giblets have been removed.
Never refreeze defrosted chicken.
How to marinate chicken
Marinating chicken is a simple way to get tender meat and great flavour.
- Marinades made from sugar or salt will help tenderise the chicken, while acidic marinades (lemon juice or vinegar) will change the texture of the chicken. Don’t leave chicken for too long in an acidic marinade though – the meat may become dry and stringy.
- Use one chopping board to prep the chicken and another for the marinade ingredients. Don’t forget to use two separate knives as well – or wash the knife you used to cut the chicken with in hot soapy water to prevent cross-contamination.
- Mix the chicken and marinade in a closed container, and pop into the fridge for between three and 12 hours. Glass or ceramic dishes are best; aluminium dishes can give the chicken a metallic taste.
- Don’t have a lot of time? Even 15 to 20 minutes of marinating the meat can make a difference
How to store chicken correctly
Storing chicken correctly is important. Here's how to get it right.
- Always refrigerate or freeze chicken as soon as possible after you buy it. Use an insulated bag to keep the chicken cool on your trip home from the shops.
- If the packaging is damaged or soggy and you’re going to cook the chicken within two days, remove the chicken, pat it dry with kitchen paper and put onto a plate. Cover the chicken with clingwrap or tinfoil, and pop the plate onto the bottom rack of the fridge. This way, it won’t contaminate other food if any juice drips.
- Fresh chicken is safe to keep in the fridge for one to two days. If you’re not sure when you’ll use it, freeze it immediately.
- If you’re planning to freeze the chicken, remove the packaging, pat the meat dry and reseal in an airtight bag. Always check the packaging to see how long the chicken can be kept frozen.
- Unsure if the chicken in your fridge has gone off? If it’s past the best-by date, don’t take a chance. Throw it away. Chicken that has gone off has a foul smell, a greyish tinge and might feel slimy to the touch.
- If you have any leftovers, cooked parts (thighs, breasts, legs or wings) can be kept in the fridge for about two days. A whole cooked chicken is safe to refrigerate for up to three days.
How to keep things clean
Always keep your kitchen and utensils clean when working with chicken.
- Never let raw chicken come into contact with other food, whether it’s cooked or uncooked.
- Use a separate chopping board and knife when you work with raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination (when germs are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another).
- Wash everything that comes into contact with raw chicken with hot, soapy water – this includes your hands, chopping boards, dishes, knives, kitchen cloths and any surfaces.
- Make sure your chicken is cooked through properly to kill any harmful bacteria