Eat the week: buttermilk chicken tacos with onion and radish salsa

Imagine moist, succulent chicken in a seriously crispy batter, and that’s what you’ve got with this dish.
Prep: 30 mins| Marinating: 1 hour–overnight 
Cooking: 30 mins | Feeds: 4 (or 2 with leftovers)
 
Ingredients
* 450g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-size chunks
* 300g soy flour or plain (all-purpose) flour
* 1 tsp cayenne pepper
* finely grated zest of ½ lemon
* vegetable oil for deep-frying
* 4 soft flour tortillas
* ½ red cabbage, very finely shredded
* ½ bunch coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
* 1 red chill, thinly sliced
 
Buttermilk marinade:
* 150ml buttermilk
* 2 tbsp smoked paprika
* 1 tsp cayenne pepper
* 2 tbsp maple syrup
 
Onion and radish salsa:
* 1 large red onion, very thinly sliced
* 5 radishes, very thinly sliced
* 2.5 cm (1 in) knob of ginger, thinly sliced
* ¼ red chilli, thinly sliced
* 3 large glugs of red wine vinegar
* 1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
 
Paprika mayonnaise:
* 4 tbsp mayonnaise
* 1 tbsp smoked paprika
* glug of chilli sauce or Tabasco sauce
* squeeze of lemon juice
 
Method
1. Make the marinade by combining the buttermilk with the spices and maple syrup in a glass or ceramic bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then add the chicken and mix well.

2. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for one hour or as long as your patience allows – overnight is best for flavour.
 
3. To make the onion and radish salsa, combine all the ingredients and set aside in the fridge for 15–20 minutes.
 
4. For the paprika mayonnaise, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.
 
5. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, combine the flour with the cayenne and lemon zest in a shallow bowl, then season generously with salt and pepper.
 
6. Pour the vegetable oil into a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan and heat to 190°C (375°F). If you don’t have a thermometer, test the temperature by adding a cube of bread: it should sizzle and turn golden brown in 10 seconds.
 
7. Working in small batches, remove the chicken from the marinade, trying to keep as much marinade clinging to the meat as possible, then put it straight into the flour mixture, coating it well on all sides.

8. Carefully add to the hot oil and deep-fry for three to four minutes until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the oil and drain on paper towel.
 
9. To assemble the tacos, place a mound of shredded red cabbage in the middle of a tortilla, followed by a generous dollop of paprika mayonnaise and a few pieces of the crispy fried buttermilk chicken. Top with the pickled onion and radish salsa, before garnishing with coriander and chilli.
 
More from Eat the week: Extracted from Eat the week by Anna Barnett (Murdoch Books). Photography: Alan Benson

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