Deep fried chicken with cheesy polenta waffles (permission to treat yo’self)

If you’ve never been fortunate enough to eat chicken and waffles….something needs to change in your life. Lucky for you, I have developed the perfect recipe to help you do just that. Breakfast, brunch, late afternoon post-hangover feast, dinner…there is no such thing as a bad time to eat chicken and waffles, they are the perfect anytime meal.

I first experienced chicken and waffles when I was traveling through America. At first I was a little confused by the combination, but when I tried it, there was no turning back. I was hooked. Chicken and waffles was my new favourite indulgence. Needless to point out that this isn’t an everyday food and my return from the U.S. was a little heavier than I expected, but boy was it worth it…

So you want to know why this one plate of food is so amazing? Well, it’s easy. Deep fried chicken thighs coated in seasoned flour, savoury polenta waffles with a bit of cheese for extra taste factor, sweet maple syrup and a little bit of kick from spicy jalapeños…what’s not to love?

This is the kind of food that makes everything right in your life, you know it’s not the healthiest of foods to be consuming but it sure is the tastiest and oh so satisfying. If you’re having friends over, I even give you permission to just use the recipe for the chicken, they will love it.

Serves 4

Deep fried chicken and polenta waffles with maple syrup

Deep fried chicken and polenta waffles with maple syrup

The list:

Polenta waffles
½ cup fine polenta
1½ cups milk
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 large egg
Cooking spray / vegetable oil

Deep fried chicken
4 large chicken thighs, deboned and skin removed
1 cup buttermilk
1½ cups SR Flour (you can substitute for plain)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil
1 bunch coriander
Pickled jalapeños

The method:

  1. For the waffles: preheat oven to 100°C. Place a baking tray lined with baking paper on middle rack.
  2. Place polenta and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in milk; remove from heat and then whisk through cheese, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, pepper and baking powder; whisk in polenta mixture. Add egg and mix until well combined.
  4. Preheat a waffle iron until hot. Spray with non-stick cooking oil or if you don’t have any, pour a small amount of vegetable oil onto a piece of kitchen towel and carefully wipe over the hot surface. Add 1/2 a cup of batter to waffle iron (or more if you have a larger waffle maker), close and cook until golden brown. Carefully remove using a spatula and place on the baking tray in the oven. Repeat process with remaining batter, spraying/wiping iron before adding batter.
  5. For the chicken: cut each chicken thigh into 3 or 4 evenly sized portions, use a meat tenderizer (or a rolling pin) to bash out any thicker pieces (cover chicken in cling film before bashing). Transfer all chicken pieces into a bowl and cover with buttermilk.
  6. Into a large zip-lock bag place flour, onion power, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper and combine. Using tongs, transfer chicken pieces to the seasoned flour bag and drip off any excess buttermilk as you go. Close bag and shake thoroughly, covering all of the chicken in flour (add a little extra flour if the chicken isn’t coated well enough).
  7. Into a deep fry pan (or a Dutch oven) pour vegetable oil until you have roughly 2cm deep worth of oil, heat until a wooden spoon sizzles when dipped in (use the handle to check).
  8. Test a piece of chicken by lowering gently into the oil and dropping away from your body (careful as it may splatter hot oil), if the chicken immediately starts to sizzle and brown, your oil is hot enough and you can add more chicken to the pan. Never overcrowd your pan, cooking chicken in batches for 5 – 6 minutes or until completely cooked through. If your oil is too hot the chicken will go too dark, you want it to be a nice golden brown. Turn regularly until cooked and transfer to a plate covered in kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.
  9. To serve, remove polenta waffles from the oven and transfer to plates, top with chicken pieces and drizzle over maple syrup, then top with pickled jalapeños and some fresh coriander.


Note: Using chicken thighs will give you a much better result than breast, it is juicier and easier to cook. I find breast can dry up too much. Thighs are a lot more forgiving when deep frying.

Also, don’t be afraid to cook one piece of chicken first to get the cooking time right, if it is still raw int he middle when you cut it open to check, pop it back into the oil and make a note about roughly how long it took.

Perfect meal when you need a little indulgence

Perfect meal when you need a little indulgence in your life

Allowing the chicken to soak in buttermilk not only gives a wonderful, fuller flavour but softens the chicken pieces and helps them stay nice and juicy while deep frying

Allowing the chicken to soak in buttermilk not only gives a wonderful, fuller flavour but softens the chicken pieces and helps them to stay nice and juicy while deep frying

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner...there's no bad time for chicken and waffles

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner…there’s no bad time for chicken and waffles

 *Polenta waffle recipe adapted from Martha Stewart


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