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Malaysian fried chicken recipe

Malaysian fried chicken recipe

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This is my mother's special, yet simple, recipe. Chicken marinated in garlic, oyster sauce and curry powder, then pan fried.

60 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 100ml (4 fl oz) vegetable oil

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:25min ›Ready in:40min

  1. To marinate: In a non-porous glass dish or bowl, combine the garlic, oyster sauce and curry powder. Mix together. Add chicken pieces and turn to coat. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate to marinate for at least 1/2 an hour.
  2. In a large frying pan or wok, heat oil over medium high heat. Add marinated chicken (disposing of leftover marinade) and fry for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is crispy and brown and juices run clear.

Recently viewed

Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(64)

Reviews in English (56)

This recipe is great, so easy to make and tastes amazing with chicken.-18 Mar 2013

~Fantastic recipe!!!! So easy to make I think I will use this over and over again maybe even for prawns, pork I personally think this marinade could be used for almost anything!!!!-29 Aug 2010

I'm Malaysian too and this is my first time yo cook this chicken. It's a very simple and delicious recipe. Keep it up!-17 Dec 2015

Kunyit (turmeric) fried chicken

"This Malaysian favourite is ridiculously simple to put together. It's excellent as a casual starter or finger food and makes a superb beer snack. I must warn you to smack away any greedy fingers lurking around when you cook it up or you might find your portions somewhat dwindled!" Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co.



Skill level


  • 2 kg chicken wings, wingtip and drumette separated, or legs
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1-2 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
  • 2 tsp salt, crushed into very fine grains with a mortar and pestle
  • 10 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
  • 1 ½ litres vegetable, peanut or ricebran oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time 2 hours or overnight

Combine the chicken pieces, garlic and soy in a bowl and toss to coat evenly. Mix the turmeric, coriander, ginger, chilli and salt in a small bowl and pour over the chicken. Wearing disposable gloves (because turmeric stains with a vengeance) mix with your hands until the chicken is thoroughly covered with the spices and seasoning. Scrunch the curry leaves roughly in your hands and nestle them amongst the chicken pieces, then transfer into a snap-lock bag pushing as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing. Alternatively, place in a bowl and cover with cling wrap. Marinate in the fridge over 1-2 nights for a superior result or a minimum of 2 hours.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or wok over medium-high heat. To test the oil, rest the tips of your chopsticks on the bottom of the saucepan and if a flurry of bubbles rises rapidly to the surface, you are good to go. Always do a test-fry with a single piece of chicken. If the oil is too, hot the chicken will burn on the outside before it is cooked all the way through.

Fry 5-6 pieces of chicken at a time, for about 5-7 minutes per batch, together with the curry leaves (beware, these will spit violently), as this will make the oil beautifully fragrant. The result should be a deep golden brown with a vibrant yellow tint and the outside of the chicken wonderfully crunchy. Rest the cooked chicken on kitchen towel in a colander. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.

Serve with the fried curry leaves (which are to be eaten).

• If using chicken legs, score twice across the fattest part of the flesh all the way to the bone. This will help the chicken cook through easier. Also, factor in a longer cooking time.

Photograph by Randy Larcombe Photography.

Reproduced with permission from the book Same Same But Different by Poh Ling Yeow, published by ABC Books/HarperCollins Publishers Australia, 2014.

Malaysian Mamak Fried Chicken

Every year for my birthday, all I ask from Mr. V is a plate of homemade Nasi Lemak. I’ll write a post on Nasi Lemak real soon but for now, just know that it is my all time I can eat it every day for the rest of my life favorite dish. The plan is that he cooks… not I. Of course, that never happens. If I want anything remotely related to food, I’m on my own. “I can take you out for Nasi Lemak…” he’d say. Guys, a word of advice. When your wife asks you to cook something, that means she wants you to COOK something. If she wants to eat out, she would have said that otherwise.

Anyway, this year, not only was I craving for Nasi Lemak on my birthday (or every other day for that matter), I wanted something I’d always have with my Nasi Lemak at a Mamak joint in Malaysia.

But not just any fried chicken.

Mamak Style Fried Chicken.

At a mamak place, one can find chicken pieces coated in a reddish hue powder in a chiller. That reddish hue powder is the marinade – two types of curry powder along with chili powder and ground turmeric. Just 4 ingredients for the marinade yet it makes a world of difference. It is simply delectable.

I took a step further and added yogurt to the marinade to tenderize the chicken.

The end result is a crispy on the outside yet juicy on the inside fried chicken. Every bite is filled with a curry flavorful kick. It’s like the good old southern fried chicken only better. I’m a fried chicken fanatic. I’ve eaten my share of fried chicken throughout my life. Mamak Fried Chicken is still one of the best there is. Trust me guys. It’s good.

1. I added eggs into the yogurt marinade because they help stick the coating to the chicken better. I’ve tried frying without the eggs in the marinade and have also tried coating the yogurt marinated chicken in eggs or eggs with oil or egg whites and found that the best method is still eggs in the yogurt marinade.

2. Yogurt is of course used to help tenderize the chicken.

3. Rice flour is used in the flour mixture to help add crisp. Cornstarch is use to aid in binding as well as crisping. Baking powder is used to help lighten the coating.

If you’re starting to get into the groove of Mamak food, then you’re going to love this Tandoori Wings & Garlic Cheese Naan. Smoky, roasted tandoori chicken wings with bold flavors marinated in yogurt & aromatic spices with soft garlic cheese naan & a vibrant mint chutney.

Or if you want to explore more Malaysian ‘chicken’ type of dishes, you don’t have to look further. This Spicy Tomato Chicken (aka Ayam Masak Merah) is a traditional Malay style dish. Chicken is first fried for extra flavor & then braised in a delicious spicy, sweet sourish sauce.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, check out my last post Quinoa Salad. I’m a meat lover, but I guarantee you’ll be addicted to the salad. Quinoa is cooked in broth & tossed with vegetables. Add a little heat & tang, it is super easy & quick to whip up. Perfect as a meal, a side dish or dip.

What is your all time favorite fried chicken?

Malaysian Mamak Fried Chicken Serves 4-8

3 lb drumsticks (about 8 drumsticks)

Curry Spice Mix
2 tbs fish curry powder
2 tbs meat curry powder
1 tbs chili powder (see note)
1 tbs ground turmeric

2 cups whole plain yogurt
2 eggs
4 tbs curry spice mix
2 tbs salt
1/2 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper

Flour mixture
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tbs curry spice mix
1 tbs black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 tsp salt

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the curry spice mix. Set aside.

2. In a ziploc bag, add all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the drumsticks and combine well. Let marinate for 4 hours to overnight in the fridge.

3. In a wide, shallow dish, whisk together the ingredients for the flour mixture.

4. Make sure the chicken is almost in room temperature. Remove the chicken from the marinade and let the excess marinade drip off. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, pressing with your hands to make a thick layer and then gently shaking off the excess flour. Let the dredged chicken rest on a wire rack set on a baking sheet while you heat the oil.

5. In a cast iron pan, add about 1/2″ oil. Over medium heat, heat the oil to 365 F.

6. When the oil is hot, gently place 3-4 pieces of chicken into the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan and don’t touch the chicken or risk the coating falling off. The chicken should be frying at about 300-325 F. Decrease or increase the heat as needed.

7. Fry for 5-8 minutes until golden brown, gently flip and fry for another 5-8 minutes until golden brown or internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken is at least 165 F. (If the chicken is browning too quickly and they’re still not done, place them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet in the oven at 350 F until it’s done).

8. Place the fried chicken on a rack set on a baking sheet and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Make sure the temperature of the oil is 365 F before frying the next batch.

This chili powder is the kind with a blend of spices like cumin, oregano, coriander, garlic, allspice and clove. It’s not the kind where it only consist of ground dried chilies. I buy the Simply Organic brand chili powder.

Malaysian Kapitan Chicken

To make t h e paste, soak the dried chillies in hot water for 10-15 minutes or until softened. Remove the chillies (it doesn’t matter if you don’t drain them completely as some water is fine). Reserve the chilli soaking water. Roughly chop the chillies and then place them into the bowl of a small food processor along with the remaining ingredients and a large pinch of salt. Blend until smooth, adding some of the chilli soaking water a tablespoon at a time if the ingredients aren’t blending smoothly.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the paste and reduce heat to low. C ook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until the o il has risen to the surface of the paste . Add the chicken and i n crease heat t o high. C ook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the chicken is sealed. Add the coconut milk , ½ cup water , lime leaves, lemongrass and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 3 5 minutes o r until the curry is thick and the chicken very tender.

Season the curry with lime juice , sugar and extra salt if needed. Serve with rice or roti.

Malaysian Chicken Chop

Growing up in Malaysia, I remember Chicken Chop being on the menu on all &ldquoWestern Food&rdquo hawker food carts. It was one of my favorite &ldquoWestern&rdquo dishes.

Super tender chicken wrapped in a crunchy batter, smothered in a rich tomato mushroom sauce. I&rsquom not really sure why they call it Chicken Chop &ndash maybe because there&rsquos pork chop and lamb chop, so why not call it chicken chop?

As you can imagine, when I moved to Oregon, I was surprised to discover that Chicken Chop was nowhere to be found!

So, I decided to try to make my own. After several failed attempts, I finally got the recipe how I like it (and how I remember it) so I&rsquom really excited to share this with you.

The chicken is marinated in Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce for a few hours (or overnight) so not only is it super moist it&rsquos so flavorful.

It&rsquos so good that you could eat it on its own, but why not knock it out of the park with the SAUCE?? Oh my gosh, the yummy tomato-y sauce&hellip..just gotta try it.
(ps &ndash If you&rsquore looking for the Chicken Chop with Black Pepper Sauce, click HERE for that recipe)

Traditionally, the drumstick + thigh portion is used for Chicken Chop (de-boned, of course). Here&rsquos a video on how the bone is removed from the thigh and the drumstick at the same time:

However, you can just use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. That&rsquos probably easier to find at the grocery store. We&rsquore going to be using 4 to 6 pieces here in this recipe. Place a plastic wrap over the chicken thighs then pound it with a meat tenderizer until it is about half an inch thick. This will help ensure that the whole piece will cook evenly.

Put the chicken in a ziploc bag, then add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Seal the bag, and shake to mix it well, then gently massage the sauce into the chicken. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or even better, overnight.

Right before you&rsquore ready to cook the chicken, prepare the sauce. Oh my gosh, this sauce is so yummy&hellip

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add one small onion (cut into rings) and 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms. Saute for about 2 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent.

Then, add 4 tablespoons of ketchup, 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder, 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and finally, 1 teaspoon of corn starch mixed with another 2 tablespoons of water. Bring it to a boil and stir constantly until the sauce thickens up a bit. This will only take a few seconds so don&rsquot walk away from the stove. Set the sauce aside when ready.

Now we&rsquore ready to fry the chicken. Heat up cooking oil over medium-high heat in a skillet or large frying pan. There should be enough oil that when you put the chicken into the pan, the oil covers about 1/3 of the chicken. If you have a deep fryer, you can also utilize that.

First, dip each piece of chicken in flour, then in egg, then into Panko breadcrumbs. In that order. Fry till golden brown on each side.

Serve with your favorite side dishes &ndash french fries, steamed vegetables, salad, etc.

Malaysian Noodles Recipes You Need To Try At Home

Noodles are a staple in most Asian households and one of the core ingredients of its culture. Yellow noodle, glass noodle, vermicelli and many more are some of the versatile ingredients when it comes to creating easy, and quick delicious meals. Packed with flavour when fried, noodles are comforting even when paired with broths. Here are some authentic Malaysian recipes from fellow Malaysians themselves!

1. Fried Glass Noodle

Bring out your wok for this! Fried Glass Noodle is one of the easiest noodle dishes to make at home. You can add on any leftover ingredients from the fridge and pop it in this dish, it’ll be delicious either way.

2. Bihun Soto

Perfect start of the day and super simple! This dish hugs you like a warm blanket, it radiates comfort. It consists of chicken broth and some additional spices, and you can customise it with your noodle of choice and even add some begedil (deep fried potato patty) to this dish.

3. Sizzling Yee Mee

Smokey, sizzling gravy on a cast iron plate. This dish is commonly found in Malaysia cafeterias and shops. It can easily be replicated at home, give it a try! The ingredients for the gravy are already in your pantry – oyster sauce, and sweet soy sauce.

4. Mee Bandung

Despite its name, this dish originates from Malaysia, not Indonesia. For the Malaysians of the South, this is an everyday delicacy in Johor. Savoury, sweet and spicy – it has a combination of earthy flavour and rich spicy broth too. So try and make it yourself to know exactly what we’re talking about!

5. Laksam (Flat Rice Noodles in Fish Gravy)

Let’s venture up north of Malaysia, where you can find this dish to be commonly eaten for breakfast in Kelantan. Challenge yourself and make the noodle yourself, it’s super simple and little room for failure. All you need is rice flour, water and oil.

These are just some of the few Malaysian noodles for you to try. Explore more on our site from Malaysian noodles to Vietnamese noodles, we got the taste of Asia ready for you!

Malaysia’s Finest: Golden Turmeric Fried Chicken

Think you can’t cook Malaysian food? Too complicated? Wouldn’t know where to start? Think again! This spicy, tangy, vibrant cuisine is well within reach if you have a copy of chef Christina Arokiasamy’s new cookbook. She served as Malaysia’s first official Food Ambassador to the U.S., so take her word for it. This turmeric fried chicken is as addictive to crunch on as it is beautiful to look at.

Authentic Malaysian ayam goreng, or fried chicken, eaten at least once a week at our home, is typically made with a simple combination of turmeric, ground chilies, salt, and pepper. The turmeric also enhances that appealing golden-brown color you want in perfect fried chicken. I usually start with a whole chicken and cut it into 12 pieces, since small pieces are more flavorful than large because they get coated with more spice.

Malaysian Lemongrass fried chicken

I was not too sure what is the best name shall i given to this fried chicken recipe. At last, I decided to call it as Malaysian Lemongrass fried chicken since I use all local herbs especially lemongrass and fresh turmeric are very common in Malaysia. This is my best deep fried chicken recipe, I like to serve this fried chicken in a party (in my son Lucas's 10th Birthday party), and my kids very often requested me to make this fried chicken for them.

This fried chicken is crispy and succulent , there is a secret tip that taught by my mom, add some water when coat with rice flour.

The marinate ingredients-shallots, ginger, fresh turmeric, onion and lemongrass.

Salivate while looking at this? Try it out then, I'm sure you will love this fried chicken.

Malaysian Lemongrass fried chicken
(recipe source : originated by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover)

1.5kg chicken pieces (I use chicken wings)

Marinate ingredients to be pounded or blended :-
4 stalks lemongrass
1” fresh turmeric
1 big onion
8 shallots
4 cloves of garlic
2” young ginger

1 and 1/2tsp salt or to taste
2tbsp sugar
1tsp sesame oil
A dash of white pepper powder
1tbsp fish sauce

3/4cup rice flour
1/4cup water

1. Marinate chicken wings in the marinate ingredients and seasonings for several hours.
2. Add rice flour and water into marinated chicken, mix and combine well.
3. Deep fry till golden brown.
4. Serve hot.


Lunchtime here and I am drooling over your very delicious looking fried chicken. thanks for sharing:)

OMG your cw definitely has the salivating effect on me! Already bookmarked to try! Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family!

I does look perfect! Happy Birthday to your son!

I have never seen fresh turmeric before. How different does it taste compared to dried?

WOW! I love fried chicken and this looks definitely very delicious. I would like to try this for sure :)
Merry Christmas to you & all at home

Mamak style, Love it! Will try it out!!
Same time, Happy dongzhi to u n family!!

Looks real yummy. Great for family gatherings. :)

Hi Sonia,
Happy Dongzhi & Merry Christmas to you & family.

Mouthwatering fried chicken,love the flavor of turmeric,delicious.

Adoi sedapnye.
I cannot resist any lemongrassy fried chicken.

OMG, these fried chicken wings look so so so yummy! I prefer this type of fried chicken than those floured crispy skin type.

Coincidently I am craving for fried chicken today (was looking for fried chicken during lunch time).

BTW, I think yours look like Ikea's famous fried chicken wings.

wow! I can eat 5 at a time but the chef must be Sonia :)

Ellerinize sağlık. Çok leziz görünüyor.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

wow These chicken wings look fingerlicking!

Yum yum definitely salivating.

Yummy! I love fried chicken, especially those marinated with different types of local herbs, thanks for sharing this great recipe!

I just had this for dinner, but cooked differently. Looking at yours, can't help salivating!

I can imagine the fragrant smell of these fried chicken especially when you used all the fresh local ingredients. Great with Nasi Lemak.

I simply love adding lemongrass in my cooking! The fried wings looking so perfect! :D

By looking at the ingredients, I can imagine how flavorful the fried chicken is. They must be finger licking good!

Wowww wat a fantastic, prefect and drool worthy fried chicken..

I know I would love the flavors you use here. These look and sound delicious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings. Mary

Oh yes, I am salivating and it looks so darn good. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and family!

Happy Holidays Sonia! thanks for visit! xo

Ho ho ho, i like fried chicken too!
Merry Christmas.

wow this is my kind of fried chicken Merry Christmas sweet Sonia great to know you through blogging Rebecca

i luv the Indian style fried chicken known as Chennai Chukka Chicken

This looks o delicious! My husband loves lemongrass too so I'd imagine that he would go totally crazy for this! :D

These fried chicken must be full of aroma and very tasty. The tumeric and lemon grass sure make it so much different.
Wishing you have a blessed Christmas and happy new year!

I like fried chicken, and I want this!
Wishing you & your family merry christmas & happy new year!

rice flour hey? now I know!! These looks fantastic esp for a party! =) merry christmas!

I always love fried chicken. yours look so divine especially with the lemongrass flavour. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! ♥

yummeeehh chicken wings <3

Wishing u and your family a merry Christmas and a happy new year :)

love your fried chic wing,look crispy and sedap. Wishing you and family a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year♥

Oh, these are so perfect for gatherings and party!! Now I am thinking ifbi should include this for my new year party dinner next week! Before I get carried away by the wings, here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Sonia!

Love your chicken wings cos of the spices and herbs you have used in the marinade. All my fav!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

Have a blessed Christmas and a wonderfully delicious new year ahead!

Sonia, I love chicken wing and I cannot resist at all, looks so finger licking good. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

These wings look so fantastic. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Passion4Food here to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. May 2011 bring you lots of happiness and friendship. Have an awesome day with your love ones!!

Yummy flavoured chicken. Great with nasi lemak I am sure!

oh boy.. Im so hunger for these.. they look marvelous!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family !

Wow, such beautiful piece of chicken! Must be very very tasty. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you & your family a very Merry Christmas. God bless you all.
Beset wishes, Kristy ((hugs))

wow looks crispy and juicy at the same time. will like to get my hands on them for finger licking goodness :)

Wow! This really looks so tempting. I tried it in Lavender Bistro last month and I love it very much! Yours looked so much juicier than theirs! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I will definitely try it.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Baking Year to you and your family!

OMG, I am drooling over these. This recipe looks so declicious and fried chicken is my weakness no matter how you make it. I shall try this after the holiday is over. Or maybe I will make this before I go on diet again. LOL!
Happy Holidays!

Hmmm, your wings sound delicious. I bet all of those flavors make the dish very delicious.

Looks delicious.1st time here.I found some really good recipes here.Happy to follow u.

Yes, yes, salivating a lot, ha ha! Thanks for the tips, must try. Happy New Year to you :)

I bet I will LOVE this fried chicken wings.

i tried this recipe today.. but the outcome is not as crispy as ur's. :(

Tried this lemongrass fried chicken, I think I made a mistake the Seasonings should be added to the chicken instead of the lemongrass. End up I sprinkle salt on the coated flour chicken.
Fragrant chicken and i will try again.

I am cooking this for dinner. Hopefully my fried chicken will turn up as well as yours. I am not good at deep frying food. Looking forward to my dinner tonite. Thanks for the recipe. :o)

Hi, must say the pictures of the fried wings looked really tempting and have actually bookmarked it for ref some time back. Saw your CNY potluck pics and decided to marinate 2 chicken thighs but choose to grill it for a healthier choice. Somehow, mine turned out lacking the lemongrass fragrant, but was tasty.. Something gone wrong? I hv some leftover marinates, any suggestions of what I can use it for?

I agree that the lemongrass flavor did not come through for me too. And I found the batter lacking in flavor and was a little too sweet. =(

Hi Sonia, I will be preparing this for a gathering tomorrow. Can I use glutinous rice flour instead of rice flour? Thanks!

I've just had this for lunch a few hours ago and I'm of the opinion too, that it isn't very lemongrass-y. Could hardly taste it. Putting the flour in even with water, makes the skin a tad too hard and the wings generally lacks flavour despite following the recipe to the T. I would try again but the next time, I'll omit the flour altogether and just before frying, smother the wings with a bit more salt.

If it's strictly based on this recipe, the taste is not exactly worth the time nor effort.

I'm going to pin this as a recipe idea, but I think the recipe will need some amendments. The marinade has very little liquid, only 1 Tbsp fish sauce + 1 tsp sesame oil, with a lot of crushed and chopped stuff. Then there is 3/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup of water, which I'm sure would make a very thick batter, but the picture looks as though the wings are just lightly floured. And the writer says just to mix it all together with the chicken?? Where are the chunks of chopped onion and shreds of lemongrass?

I like the flavours involved though, so I'm prepared to use this as a starting point, and see what happens.

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Malaysian ‘Mamak’ Fried Chicken Recipe From ‘Lady and Pups’

Every week, we’re spotlighting a different food blogger who’s shaking up the blogosphere with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Below, Mandy Lee of Lady and Pups breaks down fried chicken prepared in the mamak style, which is a fusion of flavors from India and Malaysia.

There’s a world of fried chicken beyond KFC. Photo: Mandy Lee

Malaysian Mamuk Fried Chicken
Serves 4

This is not mama’s fried chicken, but mamak, a word that’s used to describe the fusion of Indian and Malay flavors. Mamak food stalls can be found everywhere on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, but if you’ve ever been there during Ramadan, food vendors as far as the eye can see line the sidewalks beginning at 6 P.M. And there it was, amid the hustle-and-bustle roadside of Jalan Sultan Ismail, that I found nirvana.

I’ll admit that I didn’t see it coming, the high. Because it was seemingly just another mamak street vendor where you can build your own curry platter. (And, might I add, this was after a marathon of binge-eating that should’ve left my enthusiasm relatively jaded.) But over a bed of annoyingly superb biryani on an alarmingly melty plastic container, there were two pieces of fried chicken with oily but crispy skins, sticky and juicy flesh, plus amazing notes of ginger and Indian spices. I stood, astonished, at how I could ever be surprised by something as widely studied as fried chicken.

Here, I’ve added a few twists of my own, incorporating more Malay flavors such as shrimp paste and lemongrass, and adding a paper-thin crust. This is possibly the most pleasurable prison-break you could pull from whatever physical reality you’re escaping from. Sink in. Lick your fingers.

2 ½ tablespoons (57 grams) Malaysian dried shrimp paste/belacan (if unavailable, replace with 2 tablespoon Thai shrimp paste)
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
3-inch piece (70 grams) ginger, cut into chunks
2 large lemongrass stalks, cut into pieces
3 small shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 kaffir lime leaves
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon palm sugar, or dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground white pepper

8 pieces chicken legs and thighs

For the breading:
1 cup (135 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (115 grams) rice flour
1 cup (120 grams) cornstarch, or potato starch
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne powder
½ teaspoon salt

Wrap the shrimp paste in foil, and roast in a preheated 400°F/200°C oven for 10 to 15 min. Then add it to a blender along with coconut milk, ginger, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, curry powder, ground cumin, salt, palm sugar (or dark brown sugar), and ground black pepper. Blend until smooth. Marinate chicken legs and thighs in this mixture in the fridge for at least 6 hours to overnight. Bring the chicken up to room-temperature 2 hours before cooking.

Evenly mix all-purpose flour, rice flour, cornstarch, curry powder, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne powder, and salt in a large bowl. Leave a thin coating of the marinade on each piece of chicken, then coat them lightly with the breading. Shake each piece to get rid of excess breading then set aside on a tray.

Add enough oil to a frying-pot until it reaches a depth of 2 inches, then heat to 330°F/165°C over medium-high heat and keep the temperature steady. Fry the chickens without crowding the pot, chicken legs for around 7 to 8 minutes and chicken thighs for around 10 min, until golden browned on all sides. You can keep the fried chicken warm in a 320°F/160°C oven while you fry the rest. Allow to slightly cool, then serve warm.

A Malaysian recipe: Turmeric Fried Chicken (Ayam Goreng Garam Kunyit)

Introducing “Recipes” on IntoTheFWorld: although I do cook a lot at home (hard to believe with how much I eat out, I know), I rarely feel any of those day-to-day dishes deserves to be written down in the blog as a recipe. Also, I don’t really have recipes as such as I am a very chaotic cook who likes improvisation and imitation of something I ate somewhere…with a personal twist. Even when I do cook from a recipe, it’s usually not mine to share as it comes from a cookbook. But it is a different case for those “family recipes” – like the Italian pizza I posted about a few weeks ago…I got great feedback and it is now my intention to publish more of these from both sides of my family- the Italian and the Malaysian. Both cuisines are wonderful and are often misunderstood or misinterpreted abroad, so there is a bit – dare I say it? – of an educational purpose as well?

So without further ado, let’s go on to the recipe for TFC- aka “Turmeric Salt Fried Chicken” or “Ayam Goreng Garam Kunyit”. It is a wonderfully tasty dish which will appeal even to people who are usually reluctant to try spicy food as the flavours are very delicate and there is no chilli. Also, for a Malaysian recipe it is relatively easy to make (no 25-ingredients curry paste, hooray!).

The idea of making Ayam Goreng Garam Kunjit, a dish typical from the state of Kelantan in Northern Malaysia, was born from a conversation with May, who runs a fabulous Malaysian supperclub. My boyfriend almost broke into tears when waxing lyrical about this special friend chicken they make in his hometown Kota Bahru combining a fiery yellow colour and the aroma from the turmeric with the most delicate smell of coconut. May asked for a recipe and we realised we didn’t really have one.

A few days of emails, Skype calls on an 8-hour time zone difference and consultation with Malaysian aunties scattered around the world, and the skeleton of a recipe was finally available. No quantities, of course (quantities are a concept some traditional family cooks do not seem to be familiar with) so we had to experiment a bit before being able to share the recipe. And happy guinea pigs we were…Here’s the result of our (erm…)cooking and tasting “efforts”- hope you will like it!

Ayam Goreng Garam Kunyit recipe (Fried Chicken with Salt and Turmeric)

  • 800/1000 gr chicken drumsticks, tights and wings, bones in, skin on or off as you prefer (I leave most on but trim away excess fat).

Get the best chicken you can afford, it makes all the difference!

  • 2 thumb-sized fresh turmeric pieces, peeled and chopped
  • 5-7 small shallots (I used the small round Vietnamese type)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Sarawak peppercorns (10/12)
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 4 tbs coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoon coconut butter
  • Mix all the ingredients except the chicken in a blender (or pound by hand if you have patience). We don’t have a food processor but just an immersion hand mixer and it worked well, adding the coconut bit by bit to make the paste more “blendable”.
  • Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl, cover with the paste and rub the marinade into the pieces and under the skin if you are leaving it in (really rub it in properly- you may want to wear disposable gloves for doing this!)
  • Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight or for as long as you can- even a couple hours will do the job, but the longer the better.
  • Deep-fry the chicken in batches in plenty of vegetable oil. Fry similar size pieces together and make sure there’s no pink flesh left. Rest over kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
  • We used a Phillips air-frier, setting it to 14 minutes at 220′ for the bigger pieces and to 12 minutes for drumsticks and wings. It saves us (and the neighbors) from the fried oil smell, doesn’t start the fire alarm and is supposedly healtier

I hope you enjoyed my (not really mine- credit goes to the BF’family) recipe for Ayam Goreng Garam Kunyit and I hope that you will be trying to make Turmeric Fried Chicken soon.

Do you know another recipe or have a variation on this? Let me know in the comments