The golden crunchy coating and moist, succulent middle make schnitzels a favourite with everyone. Cheaper than veal yet just as tender, chicken breast fillets make excellent schnitzel. Delicious for dinner, they’re also a decadent sandwich filling!
Tender and crispy chicken schnitzel
As a guide, 500g of chicken breast fillets will feed four hungry schnitzel eaters.
Preparing the chicken
To ensure the schnitzels are cooked all the way through and the outside is crispy, its best to pound the chicken pieces to an even thickness.
- Cut the chicken breast fillets in half lengthwise.
- Place each piece between two sheets of baking paper or plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet (or a rolling pin) to about a 5mm thickness.
The crumb coating
- Use dry breadcrumbs or make a mixture of half-dry breadcrumbs and half-fresh crumbs.
- For a more flavoursome and crispier coating, add packaged dry stuffing mix to the breadcumbs. Use half-dry breadcrumbs and half stuffing mix.
- Panko crumbs, (Japanese breadcrumbs) are a great choice for a crisp crunchy coating.
Three basic steps...flour, egg, crumbs
Use three deep plates:
- One for flour - plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper,
- One for beaten eggs - beat eggs with a little water or milk,
- And one for crumbs.
Start with moderate amounts of each ingredient;you can always top up quantities as needed.
- Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dust in seasoned flour, then shake off excess.
- Next, dip the chicken into the egg - make sure it is well covered in the egg wash, and then lift it above the plate to let excess drip off.
- Gently press each side of chicken into the crumbs and then shake it a little so the loose crumbs fall off. Place pieces on a large tray, in a single layer so the crumb coating doesn’t become soggy.
Setting the crumb coating so it sticks
Rest the crumbed chicken in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes to help set the crumbs before frying.
Choosing the right oil
- Olive oil and vegetable oil are good choices.
- Rice bran oil is also a great option - with a high smoke point of 250oC it is ideal for frying.
- Heat enough oil to come halfway up the side of a large, deep frying pan.
- Heat until the oil is moderately hot - the oil should be hot enough so when you put the schnitzels into the pan they sizzle as soon as they hit the oil.
- Don’t over-crowd the pan - cook only two or three schnitzels at a time.
- If you like a puffed crumb crust, carefully spoon a little of the hot oil over the schnitzel as it cooks - this should help create steam and the crumb crust will puff.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side and 1-2 minutes on the second side.
- Drain the schnitzels well on kitchen paper.