Fried Chicken and Waffles with Piri Piri Glaze

Fried Chicken and Waffles with Piri Piri Glaze

In Honor of Melba Wilson

A native New Yorker with strong ties to South Caro- lina, Melba likes to say she was “born, bred, and but- tered” in Harlem. Her aunt is Sylvia of the famous Sylvia’s restaurant. Chicken and waffles originated in Harlem when jazz musicians wanted something delicious after playing all night. It’s a dish that per- fectly reflects Melba and her Harlem roots.

Note: This recipe may seem intimidating, but if you make the glaze first, then boil the sweet po- tato for the waffles while frying the chicken, you can keep the chicken warm in the oven while mak- ing the waffles.



  • Piri Piri Marinade (see The Rise, page 287)
  • ÂĽ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Frank’s RedHot sauce
  • 8 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ÂĽ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Peanut oil, for frying


  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ÂĽ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1ÂĽ cups half and half or vanilla coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • Nonstick cooking spray, for waffle iron
  • 1 cup Pikliz (see The Rise, page 30)



For the glaze:

  1. ‍‍Whisk together the marinade, honey, and olive oil in a small bowl and set aside.

Make the fried chicken:

  1. Whisk together the buttermilk and hot sauce in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to the warm setting or 200ÂşF. Place a cooling rack inside a baking sheet, cover with paper towels, and set in the oven.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and season on all sides with 1 teaspoon of the salt.
  4. Combine the flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, garlic powder, paprika, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish or bowl. Toss the chicken, one thigh at a time, in the mixture and set aside.
  5. Heat ÂĽ inch oil in a large cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat and bring to 350ÂşF.
  6. Carefully add the chicken, a few pieces at a time, so as to not overcrowd the pan. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and continue cooking until the other side is golden brown and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ÂşF, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the prepared rack in the oven and repeat until all of the chicken has been cooked.

For the waffles:

  1. Place the sweet potato in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Combine the sweet potatoes, half and half, butter, and egg yolks in another bowl and whisk to combine.
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