Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Original Dragon Mother's 'KFC'

Competing with the ads for fast food can be a nightmare sometimes, so coming up with homemade substitutes can be one way to silence the grumblers. I came up with this idea many years ago when the boys were small, and it's been a firm family favourite ever since. The stepson got added to the long list of kids who've eaten it over the years, and it's one of my standbys for quick dinners, picnics (it's also good cold) and it used to go into lunch boxes when I was still packing them. It's a recipe both the boys asked for when they left home, and it's one I've given to so many friends that I figured it was time to drop it in here.

The proportions of the spices in the dusting mix for the chicken are a starting point - I don't tend to measure it any more, and sometimes I play around with the spice mix too, depending on how I'm feeling or what's available. What you DO want to achieve is good colour in the dusting mix by the time you've added your spices. It shouldn't still be too white. I've added sumac, dried oregano, and garlic salt in the past. You could also use onion powder, and small amounts of some of the sweet spices for a more Moroccan flavour base. I'd suggest starting with the base recipe and then tweaking according to your family's tastes. Don't panic about there not being any oil in the chicken instructions - the drumsticks will baste themselves, and the skin will get very crunchy as a result. 
 Crunchy Spiced Chicken Drumsticks


  • 12 chicken drumsticks, skin on
  • 10 medium sized roasting potatoes
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)*
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 200 C (375 F).
  2. Line a two shallow baking dishes with baking paper and preheat while preparing the ingredients.
  3. In a large zip lock bag, combine flour, spices, salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Drop chicken pieces into the mixture and shake to coat lightly.
  4. Do not peel potatoes. Cut in walnut sized chunks. In a large bowl, toss with sliced garlic in enough olive oil to coat lightly. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Lay chicken in a single layer on one baking tray with spaces between the pieces. Tip the potatoes onto the other baking tray.
  6. Roast 40 – 45 minutes, turning chicken and potatoes every fifteen minutes. Large drumsticks may take a little longer. When the juices run clear, the chicken is done. Potatoes should be golden and crunchy.

Child Friendly Tossed Salad With the Works

Getting salads and vegetables into children can be a challenge that too often becomes a nightmare. While the chicken and potatoes are in the oven, get the kids into the kitchen helping to put this fresh combination of fruit and vegetables together. Again, this isn't a definitive list of ingredients. It IS one that balances well, but you can play with that according to the things your kids enjoy. Leave the nuts out if you have under 4s, and if your kids are fine with a vinegar based dressing, you can do that instead of the lemon juice in the recipe. Of course, if they're not into dressing at all, serve it on the side and they can have theirs naked!


  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls of baby green beans
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cobs sweetcorn
  • ½ cup toasted pistachios
  • 2 cups mixed baby salad greens
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


With a sharp knife, slice the kernels off the corn cobs. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the corn kernels gently, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and starting to brown slightly. Remove from heat and cool.
Top and tail baby beans and blanch for one minute in boiling water. Drain and refresh immediately in cold water to stop them cooking.
Core capsicum, discarding the seeds. Halve and slice crosswise into a large salad bowl. Add halved cherry tomatoes. Halve cucumbers lengthwise and slice on the diagonal, add to bowl. Slice skin off oranges, removing all the pith. Halve and slice thinly, and add to other ingredients. Toss in sweetcorn kernels, pistachios and mixed salad greens.
Season and add about a tablespoon of olive oil and the lemon juice. Toss lightly together and serve with the chicken and potatoes.
Serves a family of four.

* Omit cayenne if children are sensitive to heat or allergic to chilli.

PS. I have NO idea why the font is publishing so small - it looks the right size in the template. Happens every time I copy and paste from another document. Gotta love the technology!


  1. So much healthier than the deep fried original, must try this with the junk food loving husband.

    1. My partner gets sick with the original - literally, and very soon after eating. This is fine for him... And I do the potatoes with lots of other things too.