Chicken Burger Deluxe by Jane Lawson
4 organic chicken thigh fillets
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
4-brioche burger buns softened butter, for spreading (optional)
Butter lettuce leaves
250ml (9fl oz. / 1 cup) buttermilk
2 garlic cloves, well bruised
2 fresh bay leaves, crumpled to release their oil
¼ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
Egg salad relish
2 hard-boiled eggs
165 g (5-¾ oz. 2/3 cup)
Japanese ‘Kewpie’ mayonnaise
1-tablespoon very finely chopped dill pickle or gherkins
1 spring onion (scallion), white part only, very finely chopped
½ teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons finely sliced chives
1 teaspoon lemon juice
135g (4 ¾ oz. ¾ cup) potato flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1-teaspoon baking powder
1-teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
A large pinch of cayenne pepper
To prepare the chicken, use a sharp knife to lightly score the fleshy underside of the thighs, where they have been cut from the bone. Beat them with the back of a rolling pin until the thicker parts have flattened out slightly.
For the marinade, combine the buttermilk, garlic, bay leaves and fennel seeds in a non-reactive bowl. Add the chicken and turn well to coat. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours, to tenderise and flavor the meat.
Meanwhile, make the egg salad relish. Finely chop the white of one egg; eat or reserve the other egg white. Mash both the egg yolks with mayonnaise, then place in a bowl with the chopped egg white. Add the dill pickle, spring onion, sugar and chives. Season to taste with salt, and then add the lemon juice if you think it needs it. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When you’re ready to cook, one-third fill a deep-fryer or large heavy-based sauce pan with oil and heat to 170 degrees, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 20 seconds.
In a shallow dish, combine the spice coating ingredients. Drain the chicken well, discarding the marinade. Dredge the chicken in the spice mixture on all sides, patting it on to help adhere.
Working in two batches, cook the chicken in the hot oil for 6-7 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towel and keep warm in a low oven.
Butter your burger buns if desired, and then top the bottom buns with lettuce, a piece of fried chicken, and a large dollop of egg salad relish. Top with the bun lids and eat.
This recipe is one of many milkbar classics inspired by retro foods in Australia from the 1970’s. Jane Lawrence’s book, Milkbar Memories, AUD $39.99 is available from Murdoch Books.