Ayam Goreng Berempah (Malaysian Spiced Fried Chicken)

Samantha Tan

A version of this recipe was first published on my old blog in 2011.

Delectably crunchy and bursting with the robust flavors of a dozen herbs and spices, this Malaysian-style fried chicken is truly explosive in taste and a complete departure from your typical Southern versions. Marinate overnight for a deeper punch, and be prepared to be hit by the most incredible fragrance once the aromatics start sizzling away. 

Depending on how well you grind your paste, this batter may result in lots of little scrumptious crunchy bits that you'll want to scoop up too. I would recommend using a large wok for frying and a fine mesh strainer, so you can capture all these delicious crumbs. It may not be the best idea to use a plug-in electric deep fryer, as those baskets are too wide and will result in all the batter remnants falling and covering the heating element at the bottom.

Eat with a hefty sprinkling of those crunchy bits, or serve with nasi lemak for an especially divine experience.

Ayam Goreng Berempah (Malay Spiced Fried Chicken)

Serves 4-6

Chop up 1 whole large chicken into about 12 pieces (or use 12 drumsticks/thighs). This should be approximately 4.5 lbs (2 kg).

Blend in a grinder to a paste:

1 medium cooking onion

4 large cloves garlic

1" ginger

4 sticks lemongrass (white part only)

 Whisk together to form a batter:

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp meat curry powder (Baba's is my Malaysian brand of choice)

1 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp cornflour

Combine the chicken, ground paste and batter in a large container and add a small handful of fresh curry leaves. Mix well and leave to marinate in the refrigerator at overnight.

A couple hours before cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and leave it to reach room temperature (so the inside isn't cold- you don't want meat that ends up burning on the outside but raw in the middle!).

In a wok, heat up a large amount of peanut oil or any mild vegetable oil (canola, soybean and the like, NOT olive oil) until hot but not smoking. It has reached the correct temperature when you drop a small curry leaf in and it sizzles and bubbles.

Drop the chicken pieces in carefully and deep fry over medium-high heat for about 10-15 mins until golden and crisp (use your discretion- smaller pieces will cook faster).

When cooked, shake off the excess oil and place on some paper towels to drain.  

Stuff your face!

Perfect with some homemade nasi lemak!












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