Excuse me, Korean Fried Chicken. Could you please step aside for our Malaysian spicy and aromatic fried chicken? Introducing Ayam Goreng Berempah, a dish which actually needs no introduction.
Most of us have had this at the nasi campur stall or at the nasi kukus joint. Or some of you may have eaten this at home. The best ayam goreng berempah I have had is at Laksamaana. Though laksa is their specialty, they do a really mean ayam goreng berempah.
I decided to try my hand at making this awesome fried chicken so I referred to the recipe from Kak Liza's book Senangnya Memasak Ayam. It didn't look too complicated as the spice paste is made of garlic, ginger, lemongrass, pepper, chili and curry powder.
I marinated the chicken one day ahead so that the flavors can develop and penetrate the chicken flesh, making the fried chicken even tastier.
I used about 500g of chicken pieces which is just nice for two servings. Before frying the chicken, you fry some curry leaves first to make the oil aromatic.
I decided to take it a step further by adding a stalk of bruised lemongrass (as I have seen Chef Wan do) and a few kaffir lime leaves (just because I had these in my garden).
|Roping in Mum's sarong (or was it Grandma's) as part of the props.|
I used my cast iron pan and filled it halfway up with oil and that way, I use less oil. All I had to do is turn my chicken pieces when one side was done. Of course, using more oil in a deep pan would have been much easier and gotten better results, but I wanted to save on the oil.
I was very pleased by what I fished out of the pan. The color was right and the chicken was well marinated and moist. It tasted very good. Quite an achievement on a hot and scorching Sunday afternoon. But the downside was cleaning up the oily mess.
Here's my adapted recipe in case you want to fry yourself a small batch of ayam goreng berempah. For best results, marinate the chicken overnight on the fridge and take it out to come to room temperature before frying.
Ayam Goreng Berempah
Recipe source : Adapted from Senangnya Memasak Ayam
- 500g chicken pieces (I buy what they call "chicken cubes" from the supermarket because I am hopeless at chopping chicken)
- 2 stalks lemongrass (use only the white part)
- 2 shallots
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 inch ginger
- 1 tablespoon meat curry powder
- 1 tsp salt
-1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or regular chili powder)
To flavor the frying oil :
- 2 stalks curry leaves
- 1 stalk lemongrass (bruised, optional)
- 5 kafir lime leaves (optional)
1. Blend lemongrass, shallots, garlic and ginger into a paste.
2. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper into the paste and mix to combine.
3. Put chicken pieces into a freezer bag and pour in the spice paste. Squish the bag to evenly coat the spice paste all over the chicken.
4. Leave in the fridge to marinate overnight.
5. Before frying, take the chicken out from the fridge to come to room temperature (I left mine out for 2 hours. Don't be paranoid about bacteria and all. The hot oil will kill them later)
6. Heat oil in pan (you can deep fry or shallow fry) and when oil is hot, add in the curry leaves. When it crisps up, remove and set aside.
7. Next add kaffir lime leaves (if using), remove when it crisps up.
8. Add lemongrass (if using) and the marinated chicken. Fry in two batches (if your pan is not big enough) and you may leave the lemongrass in there. Fry the chicken until browned and cooked through.
9. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
10. Serve hot and garnish with the fried curry and kaffir lime leaves.