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Chicken and Waffles

Fried Chicken and Waffles with Piri Piri Glaze by Melba Wilson

Melba Wilson shares her recipe for fried chicken and waffles, featured in the THE RISE by Marcus Samuelsson with Osayi Endolyn.

"A native new Yorker with strong ties to South Carolina, Melba likes to say she was 'born, bred and buttered' 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 reflects Melba and her Harlem roots."

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

Excerpted from THE RISE by Marcus Samuelsson with Osayi Endolyn. Copyright © 2020 by Marcus Samuelsson. Photographs by Angie Mosier. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

09 December, 2020
Average: 2.9 (17 votes)

serves for


total time

3 HR 0 MIN


Piri Piri
2 small (peeled)
1 inch piece (peeled)
4 (peeled)
Chili Pepper
1 (stemmed)
Lemon juice
2 tablespoons
Canola oil
2 tablespoons
2 teaspoons
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon
Piri Piri Glaze
Homemade piri piri marinade
1/4 cup
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons
Fried Chicken
1 1/2 cups
Hot sauce
1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot Sauce
8 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons
All purpose flour
1 Cup
1/4 cup
1 tablespoon
Garlic powder
1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
Peanut Oil
for frying
Sweet potatoes
1 small (peeled and cubed)
Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 cups
Cane sugar
1/4 cup
baking powder
1 tablespoon
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon
A pinch
Coconut milk
1 3/4 cups half and half of vanilla coconut milk
Unsalted butter
4 tablespoons (melted and cooled slightly)
3 (separated)
Cooking Spray
for waffle iron
1 cup

Step 01

For the piri piri marinade:

Combine the shallots, ginger, garlic and chile in a food processor and pulse to a coarse puree.

Stir in the lemon juice, oil and paprika and season with salt. Refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to one month.




Step 02

To make the glaze:

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


Step 03

To make the fried chicken:

  • 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.
  • Preheat the oven to the warm setting or 200ºF. Place a cooling rack inside a baking sheet, cover with paper towels, and set in the oven.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and season on all sides with 1 teaspoon of the salt.
  • 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.
  • Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large cast-iron skillet set over medium-high heat and bring to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • 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 165 degrees fahrenheit, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to the prepared rack in the oven and repeat until all of the chicken has been cooked.

Step 04

For the waffles:

  • Place the sweet potato in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over a 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.
  • Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Combine the sweet potatoes, half and half, butter and egg yolks in another bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Place the egg whites in a third bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Do not overmix. Fold the egg whites into the batter until minimal streaks of white are showing.
  • Heat a waffle iron. Spray with nonstick spray. Once hot, pour one-fourth of the batter into the waffle iron.
  • Close the lid and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the cooked waffles to the oven to keep warm. Repeat until all the batter has been used. 



Step 05

To Serve:

Top each waffle with two chicken thighs, drizzle with the piri piri glaze, and serve with pikliz.

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