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2 cups water
1 cup coarse kosher salt
6 cups cold ice water
4 chicken thighs
4 chicken drumsticks
2 cups buttermilk
¾ cup coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chicken shake*, plus additional for serving
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup semolina flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon white pepper
Peanut oil for frying

For the chicken shake:
¼ cup berbere
¼ cup hot smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons white pepper
2 tablespoons celery salt
1 ½ teaspoons granulated garlic
1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt


In a medium saucepan over high heat, add 2 cups of water and the salt.
Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve all the salt.
Remove from heat and pour into a larger pot/container.

Add the ice water into the pot to cool.
Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 ½ hours.

Prepare the chicken shake.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the chicken shake ingredients.
Makes about 1 cup that will keep for 6 months. Store in a jar out of the light.

In a 9×13-inch baking dish, whisk together buttermilk, coconut milk, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of chicken shake.
Remove the chicken from the saltwater, dab on paper towels to remove excess liquid, then add into the buttermilk marinade.
Roll to coat each piece. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Fill a large cast iron pan ⅔-full with peanut oil over medium-high heat.
Heat to 360˚F.

While the oil is heating, coat the marinated chicken.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, cornstarch, and white pepper.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off, then roll in the flour mixture, packing it on so the chicken is completely coated.
Set coated chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
If the coating looks damp, roll it in the flour mixture again.

Working in batches, fry the chicken until it is brown and golden on both sides and reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F, about 10 minutes per batch. Adjust heat to keep the oil between 350-375˚F.
Drain on a rack set over a baking sheet.
Rest 8-10 minutes.
Fry the chicken a second time, only for about 3 minutes, to really crisp up the skin. Drain on a rack.

Sprinkle with additional chicken shake.


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