There is a list with a select number of dishes that remind me of my country and this is definitely on the top of it! Every time I make this chicken and bite into a piece, I feel like I’m hanging out in a “fritura”with some friends or family enjoying some authentic DR style comfort food. The only thing missing is some tostones made with local platanos and some coca cola (for some reason the coca cola in DR tastes more delicious than it does here lol) or a cold Presidente (BEST Dominican beer).
For those who aren’t familiar, “Frituras” are small restaurants or stands that are located all over the Dominican Republic (it’s like the equivalent to McDonald’s or Dunking Donuts here in the states) that sell fried food like chicken, pork, beef, plantains, pastelitos, etc.
Now, mastering the art of making “pica pollo” is very simple, the key is to monitor the cooking time and use plenty of oil (that is very hot). I opt to use thighs and drumsticks when I make pica pollo and 20 minutes (10 minutes each side) is the perfect amount of time to get thoroughly cooked, tender and juicy pica pollo. If you decide to use chicken breasts, cook for 12 minutes on each side.
To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
8 Pieces of Chicken (may use thighs, breasts, legs and wings)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
4 Cloves of Garlic
1 tbsp of Ground Oregano
1 tsp Coriander
1 Small Onion
1/2 Cup of Vinegar
1 Cup White Flour
1 Cup Fine Yellow Corn Meal
1/2 Cup Corn Starch
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
We are big fans of the dark meat part of the chicken (legs and thighs), but you can use the white parts if you prefer (breasts and wings). Take the chicken, add the vinegar and some water and let it soak for a few minutes,
I usually use vinegar because it’s very inexpensive and works just as well as limes. You may use limes to clean your chicken if you prefer though. After letting it soak, drain and rinse with some fresh water,
When the chicken is clean and drained, place in a container to marinate. I like to use ziploc bags because they take up less space in the refrigerator and are easy to wash and reuse.
Add 1 tsp of salt,
About 1/2 tsp of black pepper (fresh ground gives it more flavor),
Add the oregano,
Then add the coriander,
Cut the onion into 4 large pieces (cut it in half and then cut each piece in half),
Then add the onion to the chicken,
Chop or mash the garlic, then add it as well,Then last (but not least ) squeeze the lime juice onto the chicken,
Seal the bag and mix the chicken around so it gets coated with the seasoning.
Let it marinate for a few hours, the longer the better! I usually marinate it the night before so that the chicken absorbs the flavors thoroughly.
Now comes the fun part, COOKING TIME!!
Pull out the chicken from the fridge about an hour before cooking, to take the chill off. This enhances the cooking because if you add really cold chicken to the oil, the temperature will get really low and then the coating can get soggy.
Take a large pot and add enough vegetable oil to cover the pot by a couple of inches. Put it on high heat.
While the oil is getting hot, prepare the coating for the chicken. I highly recommend you use a ziploc bag because it will make this process much easier. If you don’t have any, just combine the flours and corn starch in a wide bowl instead.
Take the bag and add the white flour,
Then add the fine yellow corn meal,
Then add the corn starch, (this combination of different flours will give the chicken a really crispy coating and keep the chicken juicy),
Then add 1 tsp of salt,
Then add about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of black pepper,
Seal the bag and shake it well to make sure that everything mixes thoroughly.
Add the chicken pieces to the flour one by one, (make sure to drain the excess liquid marinade from the chicken),
When all of the chicken is in the flour, seal the bag and shake it again to coat all of the pieces,
See how easy it looks, cleanup will be a breeze for this…
When the chicken is fully coated check the oil temperature,
At this point, the oil should be hot enough for the chicken to be cooked in. If you have a candy thermometer, put it in the oil and the temperature should be around 350 degrees. One way to check is to take a toothpick and toss it, if it starts to fry in the oil, then it’s ready.
When the chicken is fully coated, take each piece individually to add to the hot oil. Make sure to shake the excess flour off of the chicken. Fry 4 pieces at a time to not crowd the pan,
It will start to fry very rapidly, that is normal. If it’s frying slowly wait until the oil is hotter before adding the rest of the chicken. If the temperature of oil is too low, the coating will dissolve from the chicken and you wont get that crispy crust.
Add the rest of the chicken and let it cook for 10 minutes. It is VERY IMPORTANT to let the chicken fry without flipping, stirring or moving it around the pot. Letting it fry without “disturbing” it will ensure you get a good crust on the chicken.
After about 5 minutes of frying, the “bubbling” will die down a little, that doesn’t mean that the temperature is dropping, it just means that the chicken is not releasing as much liquid into the oil, therefore, this is normal.
After 10 minutes gently flip the chicken (use tongs, it will be easier),
When the chicken is flipped, let it cook for another 10 minutes. Remember, don’t stir or move the chicken around, just let it fry in peace.
After flipping and letting it fry for another 10 minutes, start to remove the chicken from the oil, draining the extra oil. See how delicious and crispy it looks?
Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb the extra oil.*
*If you want to serve all of the chicken at the same time and you want to keep the first batch really hot, place them on a baking sheet and place them in a 225 degree oven until the second batch is ready.*
I usually keep the bowl in the microwave while the second batch cooks, they will still be warm when the other 4 pieces are ready to serve.
Add the remaining uncooked chicken to the oil, discard the left over flour and marinade,
Let them cook (without stirring or moving them around) for 10 minutes,
After 10 minutes, flip the chicken,
Let cook for another 10 minutes (without stirring or moving it around the pot),
Then remove from the pot, draining the extra oil. Again, see how delicious and crispy it looks? (I’m tempted to fry more chicken after making this post lol )
Place onto a paper towel lined plate so that the excess oil is absorbed,
Now the “pica pollo” is ready to be served! I recommend you serve it with some lime wedges and some tostones! YUM!