Vern’s Cooking and Tidbits: Chicken-Fried Crappie – So What Has Chicken Got To Do With Crappie?

I was looking at a copy-cat recipe for KFC’s famous “secret” 11 herbs and spices and came across one of the ingredients call ‘Tellicherry” pepper. With Google’s help I found the following on a blog by Scott Eirinberg at (Yeah, I’ll get to the chicken part the long way around.)

Scott sez: “Tellicherry Peppercorns and regular black pepper both come from the same vine. (And so do green and white peppercorns, but that’s another subject). All are the species called Piper Nigrum.

“[In India] at the end of the growing season, in February and March, the pepper fruit is picked from the vine. The pepper is dried over a series of days and eventually shrivels and turns into what we know as black peppercorns. Once sorted, the various peppercorn sizes are called different things and sold for different prices.

“So…when a black peppercorn is 4.25 mm pinhead or larger, it’s Tellicherry. That’s all there is to it. Because Tellicherry are so much bigger than the other peppercorns, they make up a much smaller percentage of the crop. Oftentimes they represent 10 percent or less of any given harvest. There’re fewer of them, so command a higher price at market.

Now that we know what a Tellicherry peppercorn is, how do we use it? Easy, just like black pepper. Google research described the taste and aroma to be sharp, strong, mild heat, robust and complex. By the way, it’s only grown on Mount Tellicherry in India.


KFC copy-cat recipe from and is the recipe I’ve used in the past and found that it tastes terrific on crappie.

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons onion salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon Tellicherry or black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

Mix thoroughly. I run my mix through a grinder to make a fine powder and store in an air-tight glass jar.


Chicken Fried Crappie

2 to 3 crappie fillets per person

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

Copy-cat amount to be determined by taste (see hint)

1/4 cup milk (or beer)

Oil for frying


In a bowl, mix flour and cornmeal. Mix in copy-cat one tablespoon at a time until it tastes good to you. Once the dry mix meets your taste approval, dip fillets in beer or milk to completely wet the fillet surfaces and dredge in dry mixture. You can make a crispier chicken-fried crappie by repeating the dipping process. Fry fillets until both sides are golden brown.


*Hint: I let my taste buds tell me when the mixture is right. I lick a finger, stick it in the dry mixture and taste it. I add and stir in the copy-cat until my finger taste good. Don’t worry about germs, they’ll get fried.


PETA Cookbook      I got a new tongue-in-cheek cookbook titled P.E.T.A. – People Eating Tasty Animals by Robert Arlen. The recipes are for a wide variety of critters, some endangered. Arlen must have had a lot of fun concocting this book. He says the book is for entertainment and he personally has not tried them so is not sure if they all taste good.

He says you can change most of the recipes by substituting meats that are easily acquired, such as beef for bear or giraffe, chicken for bats or parakeets and so on. He often has clever hints: For Japanese Seal Stew he recommends tenderizing the meat by clubbing it on both sides. Again, tongue-in-cheek humor. Book available online.

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