Keralan Fried Chicken with Lowcountry Cardamom Waffles

Atlanta chef Asha Gomez’s fragrant, crunchy fried chicken brilliantly connects the dots between her culinary past (growing up in the Kerala region of India) and present. It’s marinated overnight in an emerald-green purée of buttermilk, herbs, and spices before breading and frying. The accompanying waffle is topped with spice-infused maple syrup and flash-fried curry leaves.


For the spicy maple syrup
2 tsp. whole cumin seeds, coarsely ground
2 tsp. whole coriander seeds, coarsely ground
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups maple syrup

For the chicken and marinade

2 cups buttermilk
10 garlic cloves
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 whole serrano (or 3 large jalapeño) peppers, seeded if desired
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 bunch of fresh mint
2 Tbs. kosher salt
8 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 lb.)

For the waffles

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup unsweetened malt powder
2 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
2-1/2 cups buttermilk
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the waffle iron
1/2 cup cooked basmati or white rice

For frying and serving the chicken

Vegetable oil, for frying
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. coconut oil, melted
2 stems fresh curry leaves


Make the syrup

Toast the cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes in a dry, hot medium skillet until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk the toasted spices into the maple syrup and let the syrup infuse at room temperature for 24 hours.

Marinate the chicken

In a blender, purée the buttermilk, garlic, ginger, peppers, cilantro, mint, and salt until smooth. Place the chicken in a large glass dish or bowl, pour the buttermilk purée over the chicken, toss to coat, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Make the waffles

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, rice flour, malt powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, then add the buttermilk and melted butter and whisk again.

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