American cuisine is known for excesses, and for a good reason. As a culture, they’re not one to shy away from bold flavours and the idea that you can have too much of a good thing doesn’t apply here. One of the most iconic examples of this is the breakfast/brunch/any time you feel like dish that is Fried Chicken and Waffles. 

As the name suggests, it’s made up of two components: deep-fried battered chicken   and traditional American-style waffles. Together they seem like an unlikely coupling, but the balance of sweet and savoury especially when topped off with oodles of maple syrup or a hot honey sauce, it somehow just works. 

The origins of this dish are still widely contested with most people attributing it to the Southern states because of the fried chicken that has become associated with Black culture. Somewhere along the line that theory was though to be a misnomer and the claim to the dish was redesignated to a 1930s Harlem restaurant named Wells Supper Club. Others still believe that the practice started with Pennsylvania Dutch home cooks of the 1600s. 

Also Read: Is The Popular American Fried Chicken Actually Scottish?

However, with the information, we have today, it seems more and more likely that the dish was indeed a concept imagined by the enslaved Africans in the South and is a firm part of their legacy. As early as the Civil War, African-American "waiter carriers" in Gordonsville, Virginia, sold homemade fried chicken and biscuits from train platforms to train passengers so chicken as a protein has deep roots in the Black community.

 

There was also a common practice of making and eating ‘wafers’ a flattened crisp made from batter – much like a waffle batter – that was cooked over an open hearth. Over time and with the progress of kitchen appliances, the batter became thicker and the wafer evolved into a waffle, but all the bones for this dish were certainly there. 

Whichever history you believe, this is a meal that is full of indulgent flavours and delicious nuances, so even if you can’t bring yourself to eat it first thing in the morning, it’s well worth a try. 

Ingredients:

Buttermilk Brine

  • 480 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Seasoned Flour

  • 400 gms all-purpose flour
  • 50 gms cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Waffles

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3-½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1-½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

For Chicken:

  • Whisk the buttermilk salt, garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, and smoked paprika together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the boneless, skinless chicken thigh to the bowl, making sure every thigh is covered in the brine. 
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the chicken marinate in the buttermilk brine from 1 hour to overnight in the fridge. 
  • Heat enough oil for frying until its shimmering (160°C)
  • While the oil is heating up, in a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and seasonings. 
  • Take each chicken thigh from the brine and dredge it into the seasoned flour. Thoroughly coat the chicken all over, then let rest on a plate for five minutes before frying.
  • Fry the chicken in the hot oil for about 8-9 minutes until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through completely.
  • Carefully take the chicken out of the oil and place them on a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving. Repeat until all the chicken thighs are fried.

For Waffles:

  • In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. 
  • In another bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. 
  • Add milk, butter and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined. 
  • Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold them into the batter.
  • Bake in a preheated waffle iron until golden brown.
  • (Pro Tip: If you don’t have a waffle iron, you could use a sandwich maker or even just make them like pancakes, they’ll taste just as good!)
  • Serve the chicken on top of the waffles drizzled with hot honey or maple syrup.