Rowdy Rooster Fried Chicken Sandwiches

These delightfully crispy, unforgettably delicious fried chicken sandwiches come from 2022 F&W Gamechanger Chintan Pandya — the chef behind popular New York City Indian restaurants Dhamaka, Adda, Semma, and Rowdy Rooster. Rowdy Rooster, where you'll find these spicy sandwiches, celebrates different styles of fried chicken across the Indian subcontinent, as well as other street food like pakora and vada pao. For the sandwiches, boneless, skinless chicken thigh pieces go through two stages of marination and are fried twice to deep brown perfection, locking in flavor and moisture with a crunchy exterior. After a quick dip in spiced melted butter, they're ready for the sandwiches. Pandya opted for a bright Mint Chutney, Amchur Onions, and Scallion Yogurt to round them out — and when you take a bite, you'll see how everything melds together perfectly. The chaat masala helps balance the heat from the Kashmiri chili powder in the butter. If you find yourself with leftovers, try reheating the chicken in an air fryer instead of a microwave so you can preserve that crispy coating.

Rowdy Rooster Fried Chicken Sandwich
Photo: Chelsea Kyle
Active Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Chill Time:
3 hrs
Total Time:
5 hrs
Servings:
10

Ingredients

Fried Chicken

  • 10 (about 3 1/2 pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken thighs 

  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) white vinegar

  • 6 tablespoons (4 ounces) ginger-garlic paste, divided

  • 5 tablespoons kosher salt, divided 

  • 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) plain whole-milk yogurt

  • ¼ cup chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons garam masala

  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric

  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 1 ¼ cups (about 6 3/4 ounces) cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper  

Mint Chutney

  • 3 cups roughly chopped fresh mint

  • ½ cup roughly chopped red onion (from 1 small [2 ounces] onion)

  • ¼ cup water, plus up to 1/3 cup more water as needed

  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped (and seeded, if desired) fresh Indian green chiles or Thai green chiles (from 4 medium [1/2 ounces total] chiles) 

  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh ginger  

  • 6 cups roughly chopped fresh cilantro, divided

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 medium [4 ounces] lemon)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 

Amchur Onions

  • 1 teaspoon amchur (unripe mango powder)

  • ½ teaspoon hot chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 medium-size (9 ounces) red onion, thinly sliced crosswise into half-moons

Scallion Yogurt

  • 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 1 (5-ounce) bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped (1 1/3 cups)

Additional Ingredients

  • Peanut oil

  • 2 cups (16 ounces) salted butter

  • cup chaat masala

  • cup Kashmiri chili powder 

  • 10 kaiser rolls or brioche-style hamburger buns, split

Directions

Prepare the Fried Chicken

  1. Cut each chicken thigh lengthwise into 3 equal pieces. Stir together vinegar, 3 tablespoons of the ginger-garlic paste, and 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt in a large bowl. Add chicken, and stir to coat. Marinate chicken, covered, in refrigerator for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, Prepare the Mint Chutney

  1. Process mint, onion, water, chiles, ginger, and 3 cups of the cilantro in a blender until almost smooth, about 1 minute, adding additional water, 1 tablespoonful at a time, as needed to loosen mixture, and stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add remaining 3 cups cilantro; process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer chutney to a medium bowl. Stir in lemon juice, sugar, and kosher salt. Mint Chutney may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Return to the Fried Chicken

  1. Stir together 1 1/4 cups yogurt, 1/4 cup chili powder, garam masala, turmeric, 2 tablespoons of the kosher salt, and remaining 3 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste in a separate large bowl; whisk until combined. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess liquid, and transfer to yogurt mixture, coating pieces evenly. Cover and marinate chicken in refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.

While Chicken Marinates, Prepare the Amchur Onions

  1. Stir together amchur, hot chili powder, and sea salt in a small bowl. Spread onion slices evenly on a large baking sheet, and sprinkle evenly with amchur mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Amchur Onions can be stored in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Prepare the Scallion Yogurt

  1. Stir together yogurt and scallions in a medium bowl until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use. Scallion Yogurt can be stored in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Return to the Fried Chicken

  1. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons kosher salt in a 9- x 13-inch dish or other large shallow dish. Remove chicken pieces, 1 at a time, from marinade, shaking off excess. Place in flour mixture, turning to coat both sides of chicken; transfer to a baking sheet.

  2. Pour peanut oil into a large pot to a depth of 2 inches, and heat over medium to 325°F. Working in 3 batches, add chicken to oil, and fry until lightly browned, about 6 minutes per batch. Remove chicken from oil, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack.

  3. Increase heat under oil to medium-high; heat oil to 400°F. Working in 3 batches, fry chicken a second time until deeply brown and crispy, 2 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to wire rack.

  4. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Add chaat masala and Kashmiri chili powder, and stir until combined. Dip each piece of chicken into butter mixture, making sure chicken is coated in spices; allow excess butter to drip off. Arrange chicken pieces evenly on bottom bun halves. Top evenly with Mint Chutney, Scallion Yogurt, and Amchur Onions; replace top bun halves, and serve.

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