Freddy and I traveled for the month of March in India and Bhutan. India is noise, busy roads filled with bicycles, pedicabs, tuk-tuks, taxis, camel drawn wagons, and the gaudiest painted enormous dump trucks that I have ever seen. There is a hierarchy of traffic in which it’s pretty obvious that bigger gets there first! There is color everywhere, saris,jewels, temples, elephants, vehicles and flowers. There are lots of smells; some of incense and flowers and some not so good. We stayed in palaces and tents. We visited marble palaces, temples, gardens, a tiger camp (saw a tiger) and rowed on the River Ganges. We visited with wonderful guides and our drivers and had cocktails with the Maharana of Udaipur(not maharaja). Then we spent a week in Bhutan which left us wondering for the first day about what we were doing there. Then the spiritual essence of the place kicked in and we left wanting to return to the mountains, the sweet people, the traditions and the permeance of Buddism that defines the country.
Back in California I made my friend Tanya Holland’s fried chicken, which was featured on an episode of Oprah and want to share it with you. There are lots of fabulous fried chicken recipes, but I think that this one is the best! She has a great restaurant called Brown Sugar Kitchen where you can have her prepare this if you feel like dining out and you live in the Bay Area.
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
vegetable oil for frying
In a small bowl, mix together tarragon, paprika, onion powder, 2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, thyme and cayenne pepper. Place chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle with spice mixture and parsley, tossing to coat. Pour buttermilk over chicken . Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove chicken from marinade. In a large bowl, combine flour, remaining 1 tablespoon salt and remaining 1 tablespoon black pepper. Dredge chicken pieces in seasoned flour.
Pour oil into a large pot to a depth of 3 inches and heat over medium-high heat until a thermometer reads 350 degrees. Add as many chicken pieces as possible without crowding the pan. Cook chicken pieces,turning occasionally and adjusting heat to keep oil at 350 degrees until cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove chicken to a rack and allow to rest for 5 minutes.