The final time that my mother flew again from El Savador, I greeted her at LAX with an excited “Hello, Ma!” She responded with an pressing, “El Pollo Campero is in that maleta (suitcase).”
Pollo Campero is a meals chain that originated in Guatemala, however has since develop into a cultural icon all through Central America, together with my household’s native El Salvador. Their signature dish is scrumptious and succulent fried hen that is layered with spices, good when paired with tortillas, french fries, a dinner roll, or—a extra applicable Central American facet dish—yuca fries.
Our airport scene is kind of the way it goes each time, my mom arriving with a complete piece of carry-on baggage meticulously filled with containers of Pollo Campero fried hen. So what if it isn’t crispy? It is a style of dwelling that she’s tenderly transported again to us within the States. Even after the lengthy journey, the flavour continues to be mouthwateringly savory, with a pronounced pepperiness that tickles the nostril.
Lately, you’ll discover Pollo Campero in a variety of cities within the US, however with journey restricted—each domestically and internationally—it appeared excessive time to recreate this dish within the consolation and security of my very own kitchen. It took me some time to recreate the dredging’s particular spice profile, however this model, which incorporates each white and black pepper, cumin, curry powder, chile pepper, and extra, hits closest to my sense reminiscences. Simply as essential: a small dose of MSG, required for its savory, umami kick. After all you possibly can depart it out, if desired, however the hen will not fairly style like dwelling with out it.