WITH so many delicious variations, fried chicken is a dish we can all agree on. It’s old fashioned, hard to eat, messy to cook, a tad downmarket, and not exactly healthy. But, against all the odds it remains a firm favorite.

Most families have their own recipes. Some swear by brining in salt water or vinegar, some by soaking in buttermilk, some by velveting with egg whites and cornstarch.

Then there’s the coating preparation. Skinned or skinless. Egg wash or heavy cream. Some swear by a simple double coating of egg wash and seasoned flour, others insist you must use flour first but a second coat of bread crumbs, then there’s those who swear by double coating but only with bread crumbs.

But then there are those aficionados who believe that only beer batter chicken can be considered fried chicken in the truest sense, and the seasonings for those batters are as diverse as there are people on the planet.

And for kids, it’s chicken nuggets. Did you know that chicken nuggets were invented in the 1950s by Robert C. Baker, a food science professor at Cornell University, and published as unpatented academic work. Dr. Baker’s innovations made it possible to form chicken nuggets in any shape.

A chicken nugget is a chicken product molded from meat slurry, breaded or battered, then deep-fried or baked. Chicken McNuggets were added to the McDonald's menu in 1983. My eight-year-old son loves them.

Whatever recipe you favor, traditional fried chicken or chicken nuggets for the kids, one thing is clear. There is nothing more scrumptious than a plate of freshly cooked fried chicken.

But for those of us trying to lose a few pounds, a plateful of battered fried chicken is a bit of a no-no. Three pieces of fried chicken come in at over 1,000 calories. But if you want the yummy taste of fried chicken without all those calories, I found an interesting recipe that might just fit bill.

This simple recipe uses a slow cooker. I tried it last week. The chicken was delicious and moist. While the end result is not KFC-style crunchy, it’s certainly better for your waistline.

Fried chicken - slow cooker style


Serves four

2 kg mixed chicken parts (about eight pieces)

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp paprika


Combine flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a resealable food storage bag. Add chicken pieces to the seasoned flour and toss to coat.

Add olive oil to a large frying pan and put on medium to high heat. Brown the chicken pieces and drain them on a paper towel.

Grease a slow cooker pot and add the browned chicken. Be sure to leave plenty of space between the pieces so the chicken stays somewhat crispy. Cover and cook on high for one hour. Then turn to low and cook for another three hours or until tender.

Serve with a salad and your favorite sauce.