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Recipes

Asha's Sivathei Hot Chicken

Asha's Sviathei Hot Chicken
Photo by

Asha Loupy

Asha's Sivathei Hot Chicken

Recipe By:

Asha Loupy

Serves: Serves 4–6

Inspired by the fiery favorite of the American South, Nashville Hot Chicken, this version stars the incredibly hot, mouthwateringly tasty Sivathei chilli. The 7th hottest chilli in the world, these smoked ghost peppers have a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) of roughly 1 million. In this recipe, we've combined them with the milder, fruiter Guntur Sannam chilli for a blend that is bright and lively with a nuanced wood-fired smokiness and tongue-tingling heat.

The chicken is first marinated in tangy buttermilk and hot sauce mixture, before being dredged and fried. (If you want to make this gluten-free, rice flour works wonders here for a shatteringly crispy coating.) After frying the chicken is brushed liberally with spiced oil flavored with chillies, garlic powder, hing and a touch of brown sugar (or asafetida). Do like they do in Nashville and serve on a slice of white bread. Or, we can imagine, these would be great alongside steamed, fluffy idli. 

Follow these guidelines for the heat levels:

  • Hot: 1 Sivathei chilli + 2 tablespoons powdered Guntur Sannam chillies
  • Very hot: 2 Sivathei chilli + 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered Guntur Sannam chillies
  • Bring-on-the-fire hot: 3 Sivathei chilli + 1 tablespoon powdered Guntur Sannam chillies

Ingredients

For the chicken
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar-based hot sauce, such as Brooklyn Delhi or Shaquanda's
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons, kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pragati Turmeric
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or rice flour
  • Canola oil, for frying
For the spiced oil
  • 1–3 whole Sivathei Chillies
  • 1–2 tablespoons powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed 
For serving
  • 4 Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Juice of one lime (about 1 1/2–2 tablespoons)
  • 4–6 slices white bread, or gluten-free bread

Method

To marinate the chicken
  1. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, powdered Guntur Sannam chillies, jaggery, garlic powder and turmeric. Whisk together until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Add the chicken and stir to coat in the spiced buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for four hours to overnight.
For the spiced oil
  1. Before you start frying the chicken, make the spiced oil. Add the desired amount of Sivathei chillies to a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. Add a tablespoon of powdered Guntur Sannam chillies and pulse a couple times to combine. (see note in Introduction for Sivathei : Guntur Sannam chilli ratio for level of heat.)
  2. Transfer the ground chillies to a medium bowl and mix with the garlic powder, salt, asafetida and brown sugar.
  3. Heat the oil in a small saucepan until almost smoking. Pour the oil over the spices and let sizzle for a few minutes before stirring. Stir well and let sit while you cook the chicken. The spiced oil can be made a few days ahead and kept at room temperature.
To fry the chicken
  1. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Prepare two baking sheets with a wire rack placed on each one and set aside.
  2. Combine the all-purpose flour (or rice flour) and remaining 2 teaspoons of kosher salt on another rimmed baking sheet, mixing well. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and transfer the chicken thighs to a plate, reserving the bowl of buttermilk marinade.
  3. Take one chicken thigh and dredge it lightly in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour. Dip the floured chicken thigh back into the buttermilk marinade and then dredge it again in the flour. Transfer the breaded chicken thigh to the rack-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs and then let sit at room temperature for 5–10 minutes (this will help the flour hydrate a little, creating crispy, craggy crust).
  4. Heat a few inches of canola oil to 350°F in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Frying in batches, carefully place chicken in hot oil, taking care not to overcrowd pan. Fry the chicken for 3 minutes on one side, flip and fry for another 3 minutes. Flip the chicken again and fry until the internal temperature registers 165°F and the outside is golden and crispy, about another 1–2 minutes per side. Transfer the fried chicken thighs to the clean rack-lined baking sheet and place in the oven to keep the finished chicken warm. Fry the remaining chicken thighs.
  5. To finish the the hot chicken, brush the spiced oil liberally on both sides of the fried chicken thighs.
To serve
  1. Whisk together the lime juice and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Add the cucumbers and toss to coat.
  2. Place a piece of white bread on a plate, top with a fried chicken thigh and a little extra spiced oil. Serve alongside the limey cucumbers.