National Fried Chicken Day was on Thursday, July 6, 2023. Although it is officially observed in the United States on this day, the comfort food remains a popular favorite throughout the year. Across America, fried chicken recipes can be found in cookbooks and there is no shortage of restaurants that serve fried chicken, especially in the South. Fried chicken also remains a favorite to make at home. Dr. CaSandra Vaughn and Valerie Mullins share their tasty recipes and perspective about how they arrived at making homestyle fried chicken.

Dr. CaSandra Vaughn

Dr. CaSandra Vaughn and her father, Rev. Dr. Alfred C.D. Vaughn often cooked together since it was  relaxing for the late reverend. He had been cooking with his daughter since she was a teenager.

“The dinner table has always been a staple in the Black community, and until death, daddy made sure that was our one equal ground,”  CaSandra said.

CaSandra is a television talk show host and publicist who recalls always paying attention to her father in the kitchen.

She recalled her father saying that “cooking not only feeds your family, but feeds your soul.”

Some of her best memories and lessons were created while the father and daughter cooked together.

“It was our time when my dad wasn’t a pastor. He was just daddy,” CaSandra said. “Cooking together positively impacts and creates a bond for children and parents because it gives parents an opportunity to teach lessons without lecturing. It gives a fun way of comparing life issues with methods of cooking.”

Rev. Dr. Alfred C.D. Vaughn passed away earlier this year. He served as Senior Pastor of Sharon Baptist Church in Baltimore. Dr. CaSandra Vaughn is his daughter who enjoyed cooking with her father. The pair created  “Vaughn Crispy Chicken.” Photo credit: Dr. CaSandra Vaughn

Pastor Vaughn passed away on March 19, 2023. CaSandra unpacks her memories of time spent with her father. She still loves making “Vaughn Crispy Chicken,” which is a recipe that the close pair created together. CaSandra reminds us that fried chicken is a soul food tradition, so cooks should use their soul filled with love when they prepare it. The chicken recipe gives a sweet and savory flavor with a hint of spice, according to CaSandra.

“I enjoyed preparing this because it allows me to reminisce about moments that my dad and I shared cooking and talking about food. My dad bragged that he never used a recipe that he didn’t cook from the heart and my dad had a huge heart that impacted the world,” CaSandra said.

Vaughn Crispy Chicken

 Preparation time: 60 minutes 

Cook time: 20 minutes

8-12 chicken breasts

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar 

1 cup of water 

2 tablespoons of garlic powder 

2 tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning 

2 tablespoons of McCormick Montreal Seasoning 

2 tablespoons of honey barbecue

2 tablespoons of ground turmeric 

1 tablespoon of parsley 

3 teaspoons of black pepper 

1 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt 

Olive Oil for frying 

 In a shallow glass dish, mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and water. Soak chicken in the mixture for 30 minutes. Rinse the chicken off and place in a separate bowl. Pour all of the seasoning except the parsley on the chicken. Spread seasoning on the chicken breasts until seasoning covers all of the chicken. Set seasoned chicken in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Pour the olive oil into a pan and heat. Pour 4 cups of flour into a glass bowl. Place the chicken breasts in the flour and mix to evenly distribute the flour on each piece. Use cooking tongs to place each piece in the pan. Cook on each side for 7 minutes until thoroughly cooked. Remove each piece from the pan and place on a napkin. Dab excess grease off. Place chicken on a serving dish and sprinkle the parsley on top.

A plate of “Vaughn Crispy Chicken.”
Photo credit: Jerimiah Thomas

Valerie Mullins

Val’s Healthy Air Fried Chicken is a recipe that was created by Valerie Mullins, a busy resident of Virginia who always loved her late mother’s fried chicken. Lucinda Collier, who once worked in a school cafeteria, told her daughter that it was better to learn how to cook than to buy prepared food. 

“She started me off cooking bacon and eggs. Then, I learned to prepare Jell-O, cakes, easy pies and chocolate chip cookies. Then, she taught me how to make fried chicken by watching her,” Mullins said, reflecting on her childhood growing up in Long Island, New York.

Last year, Mullins created a modified chicken recipe of her own after reading one that was included with a tiny Ninja air fryer that she purchased. Mullins made a conscious effort to skip using a skillet to fry chicken with grease popping in exchange for air fried chicken. Since she is currently monitoring her cholesterol intake, Mullins proposes the idea of cooking a healthier version of fried chicken that is appetizing without sacrificing a flavorful, favorite dish.

“I suggest people invest in an air fryer,” Mullins said. “Enjoy great tasting Southern fried chicken using an air fryer.”

Mullins also mentioned that an older child could also cook her recipe that is large enough to make a small serving of fried chicken with a miniature air fryer.

Valerie Mullins

Photos by Andrea Blackstone

Val’s Healthy Air Fried Chicken

Rinse a small package of party wingettes well with water and a little white vinegar. 

Use two medium sized bowls 

 In one bowl add 1/2 cup arrowroot 

Add two pinches of Himalayan sea salt

Add two pinches of coarse black pepper

Add two pinches of Seasoning Salt (or smoked paprika for spicy flavor)

In the second bowl, add egg wash or egg whites made from four cracked eggs.

Dip chicken pieces individually in the egg wash and then roll in arrowroot. 

Arrange pieces of chicken in an air fryer.

(Mullins recommends using parchment paper or air fryer liners in the air fryer).

Cook approximately 14 minutes on each side until golden brown. Cooking time varies based on the size of chicken pieces and the type of air fryer. Enjoy golden brown crunchy chicken without the oil!

Valerie Mullins used a small air fryer to make a healthier fried chicken recipe.
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