No crazy description needed. Fried alligator. I feel badass even though I didn’t catch this alligator. Apparently alligators are nicer than crocodiles, but we only have one word for both in Vietnamese, so I’m stereotyping all alligators and crocodiles as those aggressive, ugly animals in movies. Poor alligator – if I was born an alligator I think I’d volunteer myself to…uh, whatever animal it is that eats alligator. (What, there is none? Depressing!)
Raw alligator meat has a very strong, distinctive smell – not a gamey smell, but more like a swamp-ish, river-ish smell. I panicked and used all of the Middle Eastern spices I had within reach, and luckily the result was not only free of bad smell but also aromatic and delicious! Or maybe the smell just goes away when you cook the meat? I listed this under “chicken and poultry” since the texture and taste are closest to that of chicken, and you can easily substitute chicken for alligator meat. I served it with a refreshing arugular and tomato salad, it was great!
1 pound boneless alligator meat (or chicken is fine)
5 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons baharat
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup flour
2 cups frying oil (any neutral seed oil)
Salt to taste
- Crush cumin and coriander seeds with mortar and pestle, then mix with the baharat and salt (if you don’t have baharat, double the cumin + coriander and add a bit of cinnamon).
- Cut the meat into bite-size/1.5 inches long pieces and marinade with the spices, chopped up garlic, and milk for as long as you like. 15 minutes was enough for me, however.
- Start dredging the pieces in flour (no need to dry off the milk). Fill a small pot or a frying pan with the oil, heat up till 300-400 F and fry. The meat should be cooked in 5 minutes, assuming your pieces are bite-sized.