Friday, October 16, 2015

Spicy Chicken Sandwich

I have basically one month before I head off to Grand Cayman and I could not be more excited. Not only am I excited about going on holiday but I cannot wait to stop my stupid portion control and exercise routine. My aim has been to get really fit so that when I'm parading around in swimwear, I don't feel like a massive whale and cause shock and horror to the other lovely families vacationing around me. It's been great in terms of health, I suppose. My skin looks brighter, I have more energy, and the boyfriend jeans that used to fit like skinny jeans now fit like actual boyfriend jeans.

But, being on my little "diet" hasn't been completely painful. I'm a staunch believer that denying oneself is a surefire way to cause a massive breakdown once your mind's willpower reserves have run out. So, instead of cutting out "bad" foods, I've just been showing some restraint when it comes to the quantity I consume.

That being said, I am 100% unwilling to eat actual bad-for-you foods like junky microwave meals and fast food. To be frank, I'm not a fan of those sorts of meals in general. However, there is a Wendy's near my house and every time I drive past it, I recall every spicy chicken sandwich I've ever eaten and feel a bit of a hunger pang and craving for it. I made a quick version last year that I shared in a 'What I Ate' style post but my sister complained that the breading wasn't quite up to snuff so I modified the method a bit and this one was a winner and a pretty damn good substitute (except with much less guilt).
Ingredients:
4 chicken thighs
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup flour
¼ cup potato starch
oil for frying
+ 4 rolls
+ special sauce
+ sliced tomatoes
+ baby kale
+ habanero cheese

To start, grab a shallow dish and add in the chicken thighs, buttermilk, salt, cayenne, mustard, garlic powder, chili powder, and fresh ground pepper. Mix it all around until the thighs are coated and then leave to marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge.
Then, toss in the flour and potato starch and mix it around with your hands until a clumpy, pasty breading forms.
Fry the thighs in 350F oil for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, or until the breading is golden brown and crisp. Obviously chicken needs to be cooked completely through (unless you really like salmonella) so use a meat thermometer to check the doneness if you're nervous.
Let the chicken drain on a clean paper towel to wick away the excess grease.
And then all that's left to do is assemble the sandwich! I used this amazing olive oil ciabatta loaf as my bread, but round rolls, potato rolls, italian loaf, almost any type of bread would be great. Line the bottom of the sandwich with a little baby kale (or regular lettuce if that's what you prefer), top with chicken, and then top with sliced tomatoes.
To accompany the meal, I made some roasted vegetables tossed simply with olive oil, salt, pepper, and bacon.
And as a final touch, I crumbled a little feta all over the top.
To amp up the spice factor, we added slices of habanero cheese (I think it's cheddar) and also slathered on some special sauce (which has a strong and spicy horseradish base).
The chicken is super spicy and crunchy and tender (because dark meat is amazing) and it definitely quelled any fast food cravings I had. And of course, I could feel moderately happy about eating this meal because there were so many veggies on the table.

Plus, unlike eating straight up fried chicken, I limited myself to one piece but it didn't feel like I was limiting myself because I was eating this massive sandwich. Tricking oneself into making healthy choices is the best way to do it, I'd say. Either that or being born with a naturally fast metabolism. But I hear the second way isn't that easy to accomplish without good genes, soz. Ah, I guess I'll just stick with trickery then, shall I?
Here's the recipe page:

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