This post is the behind the scenes DVD commentary for my Tablespoon post yesterday on red velvet chicken tenders.
Awhile back, a friend emailed me a link to an article talking about red velvet fried chicken on a menu at a restaurant in San Fran. The link was accompanied only by the text "I want". This idea was in the back of my head for awhile, but the recipe seemed clunky to me, Fried chicken needs to fry for a long time, wouldn't the red velvet burn? Soak the chicken in the batter, then dredge with cooked red velvet crumbs? There had to be a better way.
So when Tablespoon was looking for unique "batters" for the start of the baseball season, I decided to go for it (you know how much I love cheesy puns, baseball, and fried things) and try out my take on the recipe. I thought chicken tenders to make the fry time quick, and also decided I would make onion rings so Tablespoon wouldn't get all the fun, and I could post some pics here on TFIMB too.
The plan was to have the friend over who initially suggested the idea and finally make these crazy things, but unfortunately time got away from me and at the last minute I had to just make them on my own. This was a good thing because my first attempt was a complete disaster and I am glad no one was around to witness it!
Starting out like normal onion rings, soaking in buttermilk.
Here is where things went wrong. I thought it would be ok to just use my favorite red velvet cake recipe as the batter for these things. As I was making it, I slowly realized I've made a huge mistake. That's because I noticed that the cake recipe was like 40% butter and sugar, two things that would not handle themselves very well in a deep fry situation. I even cut the butter and sugar in half at the last minute, but it wasn't enough.
This cake recipe is also kinda fussy, and involved creaming and sifting, and alternating flour and milk and flour and milk.
The final milk addition.
Rings go from buttermilk to flour to batter to oil.
The second I put them in the oil, 80% of the batter flew right off and burned, leaving tons of black crumbs floating in the oil the whole rest of the time I was frying. The final coating had a burnt sugar taste, which isn't horrible, but was way too sweet for the chicken and onion rings.
They still looked nice, but when I was trying to photograph the chicken I was unable to get a decent shot. This led to even more frustration, pulling out all my plates and background colors trying anything I could to get a good picture.
My roomate and I still ate most of the onion rings and chicken but we both felt sick afterwards because they were so filled with oil and sugar. They had lots of oil in them because I kept playing around with the frying temperature trying to get the sugar and butter not to burn off. Frying at too low a temperature is a sure fire way to get lots of oil in your food! I vowed to not let this be a failure, asked for an extension on my deadline, and got to work the next night!
I decided I wanted the chicken to have a coating the way it does from cheap chineese takeout around here, so I started looking up tons of recipes trying to figure out what to adapt to red velvet. The final candidate was a simple funnel cake recipe. I knew it would be cake-like in texture, and I also knew it would be a batter and not a dough, because funnel cake needs to be thin enough to slide through the funnel! As you can see from the first fry, no dirty crumbs this time!
The onion rings and chicken came out exactly as I hoped, and I was reminded that I do not know everything and sometimes should do a little research before throwing something into a fryer!
As mentioned in the tablespoon post, the sauces are BBQ, ranch, and honey dijon, the latter being my favorite.
Yum. the onion rings were great but the chicken really stole the show.
The correct recipe for the red velvet cake fry batter can be found on tablespoon. For onion rings, soak them in buttermilk with some salt for an hour or 2 before coating with flour, dipping in the batter, and frying.