Matzo-Meal Fried Chicken

Matzo-Meal Fried Chicken

Michael W. Twitty’s use of matzo meal to coat his fried chicken is an ode to the innovative Black women of the American South, including his own ancestors. Marrying the traditions of Black southern cooking with Southern Ashkenazi Jewish culinary ones, Black women in cities like Savannah, Ga., Charleston, S.C., New Orleans and Nashville preserved their African heritage and local Jewish customs through this fried chicken. The fragrant spice mixture is enough to gather droves of people around the table, and the dish’s Southern charm is evident with the first crispy, tender and juicy bite.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 8 persons



  1. Step 1

    Combine the salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves in a bowl.
  2. Step 2

    Rinse chickens and pat dry. Cut each into pieces: breasts, wings, drumsticks and thighs. If the breast halves are very large, cut them in half crosswise. Season the chicken all over with the spice mixture, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
  3. Step 3

    Beat the eggs with a fork in a shallow dish, then mix in 2 tablespoons water. Place matzo meal in another dish. Set up two racks over two large baking sheets lined with paper towels. Dip each chicken piece in the eggs to thoroughly coat, then in the matzo meal. Set on the racks, arranging breasts, wings, legs and thighs together. Let sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature so the coating can set.
  4. Step 4

    Meanwhile, add oil to a depth of 1 1/4 inches in a large, deep frying pan or Dutch oven and heat over medium to about 325 degrees. Working in batches by chicken parts and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a steady sizzle, fry the breasts then the dark meat until browned all around and 165 degrees or higher for white meat and 175 degrees for dark meat, 7 to 8 minutes per side. If needed, continue cooking pieces to brown evenly or cook through, about 4 minutes. Use your best judgment (and a meat thermometer): Crispy and golden brown on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean done on the inside.
  5. Step 5

    Line large platters with paper towels. As the chicken pieces finish cooking, remove them with tongs and place them on the platters to drain. Sprinkle with salt, if you’d like, and serve hot or warm.