Golden and crunchy on the outside, succulent and juicy on the inside, and baked (not fried). If this sounds like all your Christmases have come at once… well, let me tell you that they have.
Buttermilk is a wonder ingredient. When used in place of milk for cooking it provides extra tang and tenderness. Cakes, pancakes and scones all rise sky high when buttermilk is in the mix. They are lighter, fluffier and with a closer knit texture. The reason for this incredible success is due to the acidity of buttermilk. A slightly more acidic batter means that the tough strands of gluten are better broken down during the cooking phase resulting in a more tender result.
When buttermilk is used to marinate chicken overnight, the same result happens as in baking and the meat is tenderised from the marinating process.
Its part of why buttermilk fried chicken is so incredible. While I do love a cheeky piece of fried chicken every now and again, eating fried food simply can’t be a regular occurrence for a healthy lifestyle, so I’m always looking for ways to emulate my favourite fried foods by baking them to avoid all the extra calories.
Its no secret that baking food is often a poor substitute to frying it – while the outside gets crispy usually the crumb never really gets golden.
But thankfully I’m going to share with you a little trick to achieve a golden exterior and it is all thanks to a technique the gorgeous Nagi from Recipe Tin Eats employs (she is the reigning queen of baked chicken wings after all). Firstly, her trick is to use Japanese panko breadcrumbs and secondly, it is to sauté the breadcrumbs in a frypan until golden before you use it to crumb the chicken.
This really couldn’t be easier, by using buttermilk to marinate, you don’t even need to worry about dipping the drumsticks in flour and egg before crumbing. You simply shake the marinade off the drumstick, dip them in the panko crumb, and bake on a wire rack until golden and cooked through.
Then, mix together some Japanese Kewpie mayo with lime juice and hot sauce and serve beside the freshly baked drumsticks.
Baked Panko Buttermilk Drumsticks with Hot Sauce Mayo
- 2kg chicken drumsticks
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon cholula hot sauce (or your favourite hot sauce brand)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
Hot Sauce Aioli
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- Juice 1/2 lime
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cholula hot sauce (or your favourite hot sauce brand)
Prepare the marinade by combining buttermilk, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken drumsticks and use your hands to toss to coat the drumsticks liberally with the mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for between 6 and 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit). Place a wire rack over a sheet tray and spray the wire rack and tray with olive oil spray.
To prepare the panko crumb, heat olive oil in a large frypan over medium heat, add the panko crumb, garlic salt and thyme leaves and sautee stirring constantly until the crumb is lightly golden (about 2 minutes) and set aside in a flat bowl.
Remove the chicken from the marinade piece by piece, shaking off the excess and dipping it in crumb mixture, use your fingertips to press the crumb onto the chicken. Place the chicken drumsticks on the prepared rack and tray and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden, crisp and cooked through.
Meanwhile, prepare the mayo by combining the mayo, lime juice and hot sauce in a small bowl.
Serve the drumsticks topped with coriander leaves and with the hot sauce mayo.