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Having made mistakes earlier which resulted in undercooked or over-fried chicken, I've been looking for details of how to correctly steam or pressure-cook chicken before shallow frying it.
Recipes like this, this, this and this do not mention necessary details.
This recipe mentions first pressure cooking until the first whistle, but is the water released from the tomato and meat sufficient to generate enough steam? I guess a small pressure cooker would have to be used because of less steam, correct? Am also worried if pieces would stick to the cooker and get burnt. If cooked until the first whistle, the meat is fully cooked. Won't shallow frying overcook it? Should the water from the cooker also be added to the shallow frying pan and the meat fried until the water evaporates?
On the other hand, this recipe recommends steaming 1.5kg chicken for 20 min and uses lettuce to prevent sticking. If the steaming is done with a steamer basket or idli stand, won't the pieces sandwiched between other pieces be undercooked?

Does the pre-cooking have anything to do with the amount of oil used for shallow frying and the duration it is fried?

If you could re-write the recipe for pre-cooking the chicken, how would you write it so that even an inexperienced person would be able to cook it?

Update: recipes like this, this and this explain the procedure, but is the short cooking time really sufficient to cook the meat? When I prepare chicken curry in a pressure cooker, I have to ensure that it is cooked till the first whistle, and after switching off the flame, it's only if I leave the cooker unopened for 2 hours that the meat gets cooked fully. So these recipes with short cooking times leave me wondering if something is wrong. Or is frying naturally faster than boiling?
Update2: I tried the third youtube recipe with four pieces of chicken and proportionally less onion etc. At the blending stage, all the ingredients flew to the sides of the mixie and didn't form the masala paste as desired. The lady uses just 3tbsp oil for 2kg chicken. I used 4tbsp oil and it got absorbed by the chicken and masalas promptly. On closing the lid and allowing the chicken to cook, the masala-onion mixture got burnt within 3 minutes. There goes another unsuccessful attempt at frying chicken. Thankfully this time my losses were only the masalas and onion. This is exactly why I asked my question here. The online recipes do not explain a LOT of steps. I'm pretty sure I was supposed to add more oil and the masalas and onion can be blended only if there is a sufficient quantity to weigh it down onto the mixie blades. That being said, from the smell I could discern that if it did get cooked properly, the result would've been delicious.

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  • Could you define what you qualify as "shallow frying"? You've asked about Indian food before, and I've noticed that Indians often qualify cooking in any amount of oil as "frying". (In American cooking, "shallow frying" chicken usually means large parts (whole legs, whole thighs, whole or half breasts, etc.) about 2/3 of the way submerged in oil). I have no idea if this holds true for other English speaking countries, though – Joe Nov 5 '20 at 17:39
  • Rather than looking at country-specific practices, I'd suggest examining the cooking principles. My objectives are to get the fried taste without wasting/using too much oil or having too much residual oil in the pan. Also, I do not require the hard and crisp external layer. From what I've eaten, I know there is a way to get that fried taste with less oil and with meat moisture retained to a good extent. Wikipedia has a page on frying and shallow frying. Apparently, techniques differ. My only issue is the lack of details in recipes. – Nav Nov 6 '20 at 5:34
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    But the issue is that the details are going to vary depending on what you're actually trying to do. Are you cooking small, bite-sized pieces in a little bit of oil, or are you breading and frying whole joints of chicken in a large amount of oil? We can't give specific details about the steps to take unless you give us specific details about what you're actually trying to do. Otherwise, it's just 'cook it most of the way, then fry it' – Joe Nov 6 '20 at 14:27
  • I intend to use small bite sized pieces in a little bit of oil. The main doubts I have are in the sentences with question marks. Forgive me for the lack of details. It's from the lack of experience. – Nav Nov 7 '20 at 12:28
  • It sounds like by "shallow frying" you want to brown your chicken without overcooking it. Is that right? – Kat Nov 7 '20 at 21:26
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I often precook chicken (generally sous vide or slow roasting in a low oven) before frying (American style) fried chicken. The cooking method for the precook essentially doesn't matter. However you precook, you just want to have it reach a suitable temperature to be thoroughly cooked to a food safe temperature.

I usually precook a bit in advance (or the day before) and after precooking, I cool it back down and refrigerate it. This helps to keep the collagen and other "juicy" parts inside by resolidifying in the fridge.

Then I take the cooked, cooled chicken and proceed with the recipe as normal. Cooking is primarily about reheating the chicken, and cooking the breading. I no longer have to worry about hitting the exact food-safe temperature (because I already did that on the first cook!).

For American-style fried chicken, other than starting with fully cooked chicken, the recipe and method can pick up from the "bread/batter then fry" step as normal. This should translate well to other recipes as well, as you're essentially just searing & reheating the chicken at the end in your pan, rather than cooking it.

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  • Thank you. The idea of refrigerating it is good. So I allow it to cool first and then refrigerate overnight and fry the next day. But this is for shallow frying. AFAIK, there is no flour/bread added while shallow frying, right? Just frying over high heat and a thin layer of oil is what I understood from the recipes. The duration of frying and so many other details are missing from most recipes. – Nav Nov 5 '20 at 3:14

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