You will find pica pollo (the popular Dominican fried chicken) in every small town, city, and barrio. It's the meal of choice for a night of partying.
Pica Pollo is the authentic Dominican fried chicken. In a country where fast-food chains now abound, Pica Pollo remains the undisputed king of convenience food.
Santo Domingo has them all. For some, this may be seen as progress, but for those suspicious of globalization, foreign fast-food chains are the worst offender: a threat to local culinary culture, wooing impressionable young people away from traditional home-cooked food.
Yellow arches vs. Dominican pica pollo
My impression is that in the DR, pizza, Dominican-style fried chicken, and Chinese fast-food chains do the best business. Local businesses do a roaring trade, due to their combination of accessible prices and genuine local flavors.
Some chains closed down in the Dominican Republic, the most celebrated being ‘Church’s Chicken’ which flew the coop long ago. The official reason is always "the state of the economy", but I suspect it is because the consumer tends to prefer the local version of these foods.
Certainly, many of the chains seem to do a reasonable amount of business, but they cater to a minority of the population because the prices they charge exclude most Dominicans from entering through their doors, or underneath their arches, as the case may be.
Instead, Dominicans continue to remain firmly loyal to our traditional cuisine.
About our recipe
Pica pollo is a fast food dish normally sold in restaurants specializing in it. The original pica pollo goes to go back to restaurants started by Chinese immigrants who settled in the country in the previous century. Nowadays it has been "aplatanado" (Dominicanized), and it is considered almost as "criollo" as mangú.
Since it is not normally made at home, there is no single recipe for this, and the businesses that sell it do guard their own recipes with zeal. Aunt Clara has found that this is the recipe that she likes the most, and it has always been popular in our blog.
You'll notice that we pre-cook the chicken prior to frying, the reason is two-fold: Few people have vats of frying oil and deep fryers at home, boiling it beforehand helps us make sure that the chicken is properly and safely cooked. The second advantage, and perhaps our favorite: the chicken gains extra flavor and juiciness.
This is not something that Aunt Clara invented, it's a well-known method amongst local home cooks, and they got it right. If you have another way of making it, tell us in the comments, we would love to hear your version.
[Recipe + Video] Pica Pollo (Dominican Fried Chicken)
- 1 small red onion, cut into quarters
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2 tablespoon salt, divided
- 2 teaspoon oregano, divided
- 3 clove garlic, lightly crushed
- 12 pieces chicken, drumsticks, or thighs, or whatever you like
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2½ cups oil for frying
- Boiling: Combine onion, lime juice, parsley, half the salt, half the oregano, crushed garlic, and chicken in a pot. Pour enough water to cover the chicken.Boil the chicken over medium heat.When the chicken is cooked through but firm (about 15 mins after it breaks the boil) remove from the heat. Remove the chicken from the liquid, and save the broth for another dish.
- Seasoning: Combine the flour with the remaining salt and oregano, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Whisk to mix. Coat the chicken pieces with the flour mix, shake off excess.
- Frying: In a small saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat (350 ºF [150 ºC]). Fry the chicken without piling up until they turn golden brown and turn to cook evenly on all sides (about 5-7 minutes in total). Place on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
- Serving: Serve with tostones and ketchup.
Tips and Notes
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutritional information.