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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Indian-Spiced Fried Chicken + 2018 Castle Rock Rosé of Pinot Noir

When the theme popped up of 'junk food' pairings for a future wine writers' event, I was excited to dive in. I usually steer clear of typical junk food, but I also feel as if when you make it, it's slightly less junky. You'll be able to see the group's offerings in June. Until then, I'll be playing with some homemade 'junk' food and wine pairings.

So, fried chicken might just be my ultimate guilty junk food pleasure. It's actually how I first realized I was pregnant with D. I kept wanting to stop and get chicken tenders at a local fast food restaurant! I never did that.

Well, I have been making this less junky version for years after first watching Ugly Delicious on Netflix. Sadly, the celebrity chef at the center of that series made a serious overreach recently and I am no longer a fan. But, once upon a time...I loved his work. A large part of the show (Season One, Episode Six) was actually quite heavy and uncomfortable by showing how fried chicken is inextricably linked to a racist stereotype in America. Along side the social commentary, however, is always some really delicious-looking food.

I was inspired to try my hand at Asha Gomez' Kerala fried chicken. I was intrigued that, unlike all the other versions we saw, hers used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. In the show, she's cooking for Chang and says, “Every time I make this fried chicken, people tend to think it’s my Southern-American influence, and I have to let them know that every culture figured out that if you dredge the bird in flour and deep fry it that it was probably going to be good.”

The show doesn't share any recipes, but I knew it was buttermilk-soaked, Indian-spiced, dredged, fried, and then drizzled with coconut oil and sprinkled with garam masala. So, I gave it a whirl.

2018 Castle Rock Rosé of Pinot Noir

At just over $10 a bottle, this wine easily qualifies as an everyday sipper. It boasts a beautiful salmon color. Additionally, its herbal aroma and medium body make it an incredibly satisfying pour. The texture was smooth with just enough acid to balance a spicier, heavy meal.

Castle Rock Winery is based in Geyserville, but sources its grapes from all around the state. The Pinot Noir used in this wine is from Monterey County. The 2017 vintage was from Mendocino County.

Indian-Spiced Fried Chicken


Garam Masala

  • 2 Tablespoons cardamom seeds

  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon black cumin seeds

  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 15 to 20 cloves

  • 1 dried chile, stemmed, seeded and crumbled

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  • 3 Tablespoons garam masala + more for sprinkling

  • 2 cups buttermilk

  • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 3 eggs, beaten

  • 2 to 3 cups flour

  • oil for frying

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

  • large flake sale for serving

For Serving

  • mango chutney (or your favorite chutney)

  • coleslaw or salad on the side


Garam Masala

Combine all of the ingredients, except the ground nutmeg, in a medium skillet . Over medium heat, toast the spices for approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool until you can bear to touch them. Once cool, add the toasted mixture and nutmeg into a spice grinder; I use an old coffee grinder. Process you get a fine powder, approximately 1 minute. Use right away or store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


Place chicken in a dish where each piece is flat and sprinkle with 3 Tablespoons garam masala. Massage the spices into the meat on both sides. Let stand for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Pour buttermilk over the chicken and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to fry the chicken, fill a large cast-iron skillet (I use my Le Creuset braiser which is cast iron covered with enamel) with 1-inch of oil. Heat gently over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat the eggs in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish.

While the oil is heating, remove the chicken from the marinade and gently shake off the excess.

Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, coating thoroughly. Dip it in the beaten egg. Then return it to the flour to get a nice thick coating.

Once the oil reaches temperature, carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. Try not to crowd the pan; I did three thighs at a time.

Cook the chicken until it is deep golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes on each side, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degress Fahrenheit.

Drain the chicken on the paper towel-lined plate or a cooling rack. To finish, drizzle each piece with 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil. Sprinkle each piece with a pinch more of garam masala and some salt.

Stay tuned for more junk food-wine pairings. And our event is scheduled for June.

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