Harlem is home to a vibrant West African immigrant community, and on West 116th Street, also known as Little Senegal, you can have your hair braided in the traditional style, outfit yourself in gorgeous African robes, or eat French-African food to the percussive, melodic beats of Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour, or African hip-hop. This spicy, nutty recipe comes to us courtesy of chef and caterer Pierre Thiam, who in turn adapted it from nomadic Hausa tribesmen in his native Senegal. Thiam marinates his chicken parts in a variety of spices along with finely milled peanut flour, which gives the crust a nutty, feathery crunch. The peanut flour can be found in African markets or some health food stores. You can also process unsalted, unroasted peanuts in the food processor until very fine; just make sure to pulse toward the end to avoid making peanut butter.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 1 cup peanut flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- Peanut oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Fried plantains and sautéed greens, for serving
Make the Seasoning
- In a large bowl, combine the peanut flour, salt, ground ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl, coat in the peanut mixture, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Fry the Chicken
- Fill a deep-fryer or a large pot halfway with oil and heat to 350°F. Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Place the all-purpose flour in a large bowl and dredge the chilled, peanut-coated chicken in the flour. Working in batches, fry the chicken until golden, 13 to 14 minutes. Transfer to the rack, cool slightly, and serve with fried plantains and sautéed greens.