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San Francisco Chefs Reveal Their Secret Recipes

    First Posted: 08/22/11 02:10 PM ET   Updated: 10/21/11 06:12 AM ET

How many times have we all obsessed over a delicious dish when dining out and said to ourselves, "I wish I could cook like this?"

With a little help from some of the best chefs in the city, now you can. The culinary wizards behind Plow, Brenda's, Foreign Cinema, Zazie and Zare Fly Trap have graciously provided the top-secret recipes to some of their signature dishes. Next time your appetite's roaring and you've got a rush of creativity, heat the skillet and give one of these perfect plates a shot.

Foreign Cinema and Showdogs
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Madras Curry Fried Chicken

Madras Curry Mixture:
3 tablespoons Madras curry
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Small pinch granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes

(You can also substitute with yellow curry if Madras curry is not available).

Frying Chicken:
1 roasting chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into eight pieces: breast, wing, leg and thigh; skin on
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups buttermilk

Chicken Flour Mix:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

For frying the chicken:
4 cups peanut or grape seed oil

Combine all the Madras Curry ingredients and mix well.
To season the chicken, liberally salt the chicken pieces, then lightly rub the curry mix over the chicken pieces. (At the restaurant, the chef covers and refrigerates the chicken overnight for maximum flavor punch).
Place all the ingredients of the chicken flour mix in a large bowl and mix together until well blended.
Preheat the oil in a cast iron skillet to 300 degrees. (Use a candy or frying thermometer to do this.)
While the oil is gently warming, dip the curried chicken pieces into the buttermilk, and then press down into the flour mix, covering each piece thoroughly with flour and rest on a plate. Repeat this step until all the chicken is breaded.
When the oil is hot, place chicken pieces skin side down gently into skillet. Do not overcrowd. Be cautious of hot oil splattering.
Cook chicken on one side until golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over gently and finish cooking until done, about 5 to 7 more minutes. Continue this until all the chicken is cooked. You may add more oil if needed. Be sure the oil temperature is hot (300 degrees) each time so that the chicken cooks evenly.
Place the fried chicken on a rack on a sheet pan. Place in a warm 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

Serve with a fresh green salad. The chicken may also be served room temperature or cold for picnics. In the summer, ratatouille is also a wonderful accompaniment with chicken.

Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission Street at 21st (415-648-7600 or

Photo: Courtesy Foreign Cinema
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