My friends Renée and Carl Behnke, the owners of Sur la Table, a kitchenware retailer in the US, are consummate hosts and gourmands. Fried Chicken is one of Renee’s favourite dishes to offer a hungry crowd. Her secret for an amazingly crispy and crunchy crust, which is now mine (and yours) too, is to let the chicken rest in flour as the oil heats. I have adapted her recipe and given it an Indian twist. Indians (like many Southerners) love buttermilk, so it’s natural to use it as a liquid spiked with Indian aromatics for the brine. I add even more spices to the flour coating to give the chicken an extra hit of flavour. Play with the recipe and make it your own. If you fry in a cast-iron skillet as I ask, you will get the best results.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time


    Marinate the chicken overnight


  • 1.8 kg chicken, cut into 8 parts

For Buttermilk Brine

  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cracked peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 cup sea salt

For Coating

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • Canola oil or any neutral oil, as required, depending on the size of your pan 


  1. For the brine, mix the buttermilk with all the spices in a large bowl. Transfer to a resealable gallon-sized plastic bag. Add the chicken, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large heavy-bottomed high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until it reaches 375°F (190°C).
  3. Whisk the flour with the spices and add the chicken pieces to it. Turn chicken to coat and let rest until the oil gets hot. Tap off the excess flour and add as many pieces of chicken to the skillet as you can.
  4. Fry chicken for 4 to 6 minutes until browned. Turn over and fry for another 4 to 6 minutes until the other side is deeply browned.
  5. Using tongs, transfer the chicken pieces to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve while warm or at room temperature.
Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran, the Chef-Owner of The House of Celeste in Gurgaon, is Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for August. A legend in New York’s food circles, Chef Suvir garnered a Michelin star at Devi, a first for Indian cuisine restaurants in North America. He is the chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America and has written three cookbooks: ‘Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food’, ‘American Masala: 125 New Classics from My Home Kitchen’ and ‘Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country’. His fourth book, ‘Instamatic: A Chef’s Deeper More Thoughful Look into Today’s Instaworld’, released earlier this year. Chef Saran’s approachable style helped demystify Indian cuisine in the US and ultimately formed American Masala, his culinary philosophy that celebrates the best of Indian and American cooking.

See more