May 29, 2007

Malaysian Fried Chicken

Nyonya-Style Spiced Fried Chicken
from Cradle of Flavor

3 pounds chicken wings, thighs, drumsticks

for the marinade:
1 6-inch cinnamon stick, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
2 to 5 small red chilies, such as arbol, stemmed
1 TBSP coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
5 shallots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

Now make the marinade. Place the cinnamon, chiles, coriander, cumin, fennel, pepper, and turmeric in a small food processor. Pulse until ground to a dusty powder, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar, salt and shallots to the ground spices and pulse until you have a smooth paste the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes. If the paste won't puree properly and repeatedly creeps up the side of the processor instead of grinding, add 2 TBSP of water, 1 TBSP at a time, periodically turning the processor off and scraping the unground portions toward the blade.

In a large nonreactive bowl roomy enough to hold all the chicken, combine the ground paste with the coconut milk. Stir the mixture well to combine, making sure that there are no lumps of paste. Add the chicken pieces and stir well to cover every piece of chicken with the marinade.

Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator at least 3 hours, stirring once or twice to make sure that the marinade coats every piece. (If you can spare the time, marinate the chicken overnight.) About 30 minutes before you're ready to deep-fry the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator so it can come to room temperature.

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and thoroughly pat them dry with paper towels, gently squeezing each piece to remove excess liquid. Set aside.

Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch into a 12-inch skillet and place over medium to medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. When the oil is ready, stand back from the stove and gently slide as many of the chicken pieces into the hot oil as will fit without touching (you can do this in batches). Fry on the first side until golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes; the timing will depend on how hot the oil is. Turn the chicken pieces over with 2 forks or a pair of tongs and continue to fry them. You may need to raise and lower the heat a few times to maintain the proper frying temperature. The oil should always be bubbling vigorously. It should take 20 to 25 minutes total to fry the chicken. If you're not sure if the chicken is cooked through, test it by poking a fork into the thickest portion and then pressing down on it. The juices that are released should run clear, not pink. Be careful not to overcook the chicken to the point that the bits of marinade clinging to the surface start to blacken or the dish may taste bitter.

Remove the chicken pieces to wire rack or paper towels and let drain for a few minutes before transferring them to a serving platter. Serve promptly along with dipping sauce.

Serve with dipping sauce made with Worcestershire and lime juice: 2 TBSP Worcestershire, 1 1/2 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp sugar, 1 chile diced; all mixed together.

Notes: Spices. Yum. That is all.

Posted by Jennifer at May 29, 2007 9:06 PM | TrackBack

Wow. Amazing, complex flavor (especially with the dipping sauce), and tender and juicy too. A definite winner!

Posted by: Michael at May 29, 2007 9:51 PM

Very good! I'm sorry I missed the sauce, though....

Posted by: ebear at July 22, 2008 6:38 PM
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