Changeling Fried Chicken Recipes
by SuSu & Rosie
Menu: Perfect Tender Fried Chicken | Scary Pressured Fried Chicken | Oven-Baked "Fried" Chicken | Beer Battered Fried Chicken Tenders | Jango's Mom's "Fried Chicken" Steak
Zam Wesell is a Clawdite, a species of the planet Zolan. Some members of that species could, with training and concentration, change their body shape by actually physically rearranging their molecules. They were often contained in ghettos on their home planet, subject to severe prejudice and often ostracized by the Zolanders for being deceitful and impure. Zam's lucrative bounty hunter activities allowed her to fund resistance movements on Zolan; her efforts actually did bear fruit. By the time of the Yuuzhan Vong invasions, the Clawdites had nearly taken control of their whole planet and had earned respect for their abilities. During that war, Clawdites were recruited to infiltrate Vong society ...
But in the Old Republic time, Zam chose to appear as a human, since humans did not experience the prejudices Clawdites and other aliens commonly suffered. If you're going to go through the painful effort to change your body, go for broke, eh? She was so good that she could even maintain her shape while sleeping -- normally, a Clawdite would revert to his or her native form if distracted, asleep or dead. She was a master shape-shifter -- or Changeling -- and part of a Zolan religious order. Even so, despite her best intentions, her people did not approve of her choice of profession.
She paid attention to details, worked hard and garnered a reputation as efficient and reliable assassin and bodyguard. She even attracted the respect of Mandalorian warrior Jango Fett; it's been said that they were not close, but therein lies a story.
When he met her, Jango didn't know she was a Clawdite. He liked her because she was beautiful, creative, crafty, subtle, a great tracker and assassin, good in bed, and she could cook fried poultry! That really surprised him -- he loved that homey dish, but he had never tasted it like his mother had made it; he hadn't tasted it since leaving home, though he thought about it often. Zam actually had many recipes and variations, all with different results, and Jango discovered they were all so good, he could actually forget what his mother's fried poultry was like.
He took her home to meet his son, Boba, who was initially suspicious of her. It was him who first told his father that the woman was a lizard ... he watched her as the hatch to Slave I opened, and she seemed surprised at the quantity of rain on Kamino. She was walking behind Jango, so he didn't see her momentarily change at her distraction; she didn't realize the young boy had been observing her, so her guard was down.
Boba warmed up to her eventually; she even taught him how to read, and how to make her fried poultry dishes. Thereafter, Boba asked after her often. But Jango knew Boba had told the truth, and knew he had to be free of her. While making love to her, he took to watching her carefully, and she did change at critical moments ...
In the end, he took the opportunity to kill her not only because she failed in her mission and might have told the Jedi who captured her about him, but because he hated that she hadn't told him the truth about herself. And he was disturbed at how close she and Boba had become. He did not want his boy dependent on the likes of Zam.
When Jango returned home from the failed mission to kill the senator from Naboo, he told Boba that Zam had been murdered by the Jedi. It fueled the young boy's hatred for them, even before he had watched them kill Jango ...
Perfect Tender Fried Chicken
Jango thought this was like his mother's long-forgotten recipe, but as he ate it, he knew it was tastier and more tender. Then he realized that he recalled his mother had used many eggs in her recipe, and he didn't recall mom putting the meat aside to marinate it. Maybe that's why this didn't taste at all like his mom's -- it was a lot better, actually!
Heat about ½ inch of oil in a heavy skillet to 375°F/170°C. Fry the chicken (skin side down) till golden brown, about 10 minutes, then turn to cook the other side. Drain on a rack. Makes about 4 servings.
Scary Pressured Fried Chicken
This recipe is closer to what Jango remembered, but the procedure was completely different, and actually, it didn't taste like his mom's. As fearless a bounty hunter as he was, he was too scared to attempt frying with a pressure cooker! Due to her ability to endure the painful, arduous rearrangement of her molecules, Zam was more fearless about this dangerous method of cooking. She pulled it off easily, but it's really quite a risky method. Don't try this if you don't have a cooker made specifically for pressure frying! (If the cooker says NOT FOR FRYING, then don't fry with it! And don't fry with it even if it doesn't state that isn't for this purpose ... it must be a specific type of pressure cooker and it must say so in the manufacturer's guidelines.)
Prepare the cooker by making sure every component is dry, even the gasket -- it must be absolutely dry BEFORE you start heating anything. Any water will cause it to splatter steam, and steam burns are MUCH WORSE than hot water burns, and hot oil burns are MUCH WORSE than steam. Pour the oil into a pressure cooker especially created for frying chicken. DO NOT USE A REGULAR PRESSURE COOKER. Heat the oil to 350°F/160°C. DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE COOKER -- YOU MUST PAY CLOSE ATTENTION IF YOU ATTEMPT THIS. If you have any doubts, then just regard this recipe as an academic exercise and DO NOT ATTEMPT IT. Carefully place the pieces of coated chicken one at a time into the hot oil -- it will spatter! Cook for about 2 minutes in the hot oil to brown, then close the lid and lock it down. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. The timing must start as soon as the lid is closed. Adjust the heat to get the pressure regulator to jiggle gently.
At the end of the cooking time, turn off the heat, then slowly and carefully tilt the pressure regulator to vent the pressure -- FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT CAME WITH YOUR PRESSURE FRYER. Remove the cover, then remove the chicken with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain on a rack set over a plate or baking tray to catch the excess oil. Makes 4 servings.
Oven-Baked "Fried" Chicken
Noticing how edgy Jango became when she pressure-fried the poultry, she was nonplussed and developed this ultra safe recipe on the spot. To demonstrate how easy and safe it was, she had Boba put it together for lunch one day. Jango admitted it was good, but he couldn't admit he was edgy not entirely because of the cooking method. You, see, he was already plotting how to get rid of the Changeling ...
Beer-Battered Fried Chicken Tenders
Once, Jango and Zam shared a meal at Dex's Diner, a real greasy spoon. Dex's chicken was coated in a hard, crunchy shell that wasn't really meant to be eaten. It simply protected the flesh from becoming too dry during it's stint in the deep fat fryer. The coating would almost burn by the time the lumps of chicken encased within were cooked. But the fried bits of batter was so good that Zam spent considerable time at Jango's place trying to develop a better recipe -- plenty of crunchy coating, not burned, the chicken within steamed to perfection. She and Boba tested and tried many things, and came up with this simple recipe using chicken tenders -- the smaller chicken pieces cooked up fast, ensuring the batter didn't burn. She started writing recipes down for Boba, and then discovered that he couldn't read them. Thus started his reading education, hand in hand with many enjoyable afternoons making messes!
Heat about 1 to 2 inches of oil in a deep pan to 350°F/160°C. Flour the chicken strips, then coat in batter. Carefully drop the strips into the hot oil and let fry (not too many at a time) till golden brown. Turn them if they bob on the surface of the oil, to cook the other side, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on a wire rack and serve 4 immediately.
Jango's Mom's "Fried Chicken" Steak
Because Zam cared a lot for the Fett father and son, she tried to duplicate Jango's mom's recipe for him. Just before the two left for Coruscant to execute a contract ordered by the Trade Federation, she finally came to realize that Jango's mother hadn't even used chicken in her recipe at all. Instead, she had used a cheap, tough cut of gornt or mynock and fried it up like chicken! Jango was so surprised -- this recipe was it exactly! He was a hard man, and he struggled to keep his emotions from overtaking his composure as he savored the feast. Even though he had conceded her other efforts were tastier, it was this final recipe preparation that made him regret having to kill Zam to rid her from his -- and Boba's -- life.
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