Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thai Fried Chicken (and the Ultimate Compliment)

I don't think anybody expects us to make fried chicken as our Thai dish. Do read on.

It has been more than two years since we actually fried chicken.

In a pot.
With actual oil.

It was for our nephew's birthday party and we wanted traditional buttermilk fried chicken, to go with the spaghetti his mother, CSC, had requested. You know, familiar children's party fare from our childhoods. ;)

Little did we know how hard it was going to be, frying about 80-some plus chicken parts! Working with three pots on the stove at the same time to speed up the process, since we have guests who were hovering already and wanting the food. It was too stressful, worrying about getting the food out on time and worrying about oil splattering on guests.

After that, we learned our lesson. No more fried chicken. It was just too much work and we never know what to do with the oil afterwards. I know we can reuse the oil for a few more times, but. . . well, you know the but.

But I saw Chez Pim's post on Thai-marinated Fried Chicken -- and as I was reading the recipe, I can smell the allure of the marinade. I knew the flavours were going to be fantastic.

Luckily, I had some chicken drumsticks in our fridge, waiting for their turn.

I prepared the marinade for approximately 20 pieces of chicken, consisting of fish sauce (1/2 cup), oyster sauce (6 tbsp), cilantro (mostly stalks but some leaves, about 2-3 tbsp) and garlic (12 cloves). The original recipe called for mashing all of these into a paste: I was too lazy so I just chopped the garlic and the cilantro up as small as I could and dumped them into the fish sauce and oyster sauce. I added about a tablespoon of black pepper, doubling the amount in Pim's recipe.

(The black pepper is quite essential, I found. It gave the fried chicken nice spikes in flavour.)

I slathered the marinade onto the chicken pieces and left the chicken in the fridge for 4 hours.

I couldn't wait to fry these drumsticks up. I can smell the marinade and the combined smell of the the ingredients, especially of the fish sauce and the cilantro, was positively intoxicating. I can imagine this marinade going well with other meats.

Onto the frying!

It was not as bad as I thought it would be. I broke open the bottle of "Hongkong's best peanut oil" (as stated on their label), the bottle that I've been saving for a special fry job. I waited for it to heat up, started dredging the chicken pieces into the rice flour -- and then it was time to fry!

We don't have a thermometer for frying, but I suppose that the oil temperature was about medium. Can't crank it up too high or else the outside of the chicken would start to get burnt while the inside was still raw.

As soon as the chicken pieces were golden brown, as per the recipe, I stashed them in an oven that's preheated to 225 degrees.

It was still a batch frying job, but since I only had about 20 pieces of chicken to fry and nobody was at my elbow wanting a piece of not-quite-finished-chicken, I did not mind this job as much. Dare I say it, it was quite relaxing even, listening to the gentle sizzle of the chicken in the oil.

As soon as I was done with the chicken pieces, I looked at the marinade and couldn't bear to throw it away, smelling all heady like that.

Stir-fried Greens
I figured I could stir-fry some greens with some of the marinade. I washed a bunch of gai lan, chopped the stalks and leaves into slivers, threw in some chopped up oyster mushrooms we had sitting in the fridge, and poured some of the marinade over them all. Cover and wait for them to cook until the texture desired (slightly crispy still).

The vegetables were also quite delicious!

We ate the chicken and the vegetables with plain white jasmine rice. Some of us even dispensed with the spoon and fork, going primal.

Oh and the biggest compliment?

My father who usually slathers ketchup on ALL fried chicken incarnations (nay, even ROAST chicken incarnations) -- much to my chagrin, of course -- had one bite of the chicken and decided, probably for the first time ever, that the chicken DID NOT NEED ketchup.

Recipe: Chez Pim's Thai-marinated Fried Chicken

Thai creations at [eatingclub] vancouver:
Pad Thai (Tamarind Series, Post #1)
Waterfall Beef Salad
Thai Basil Stir-fry
Thai-marinated Fried Chicken (and the Ultimate Compliment)
Thai Meatballs
Thai Basil Tofu Stir-fry

We're submitting this to Regional Recipes, a blogging event created by Blazing Hot Wok that celebrates food from all over the world.

Blazing Hot WokThis edition is hosted by Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok. The region is Thailand.

Regional Recipes information

Our Regional Recipes posts:
Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia)
Simmered Saba Mackerel with Daikon Radish (Saba Oroshi-ni)
Thai Fried Chicken
Roast Pork Belly with Puy Lentils
Beef "Ribbon" Kebab (Pasanda Kabab) with Cilantro Chutney
Canadian Onion Soup with Oka Cheese
Börek with Beef Filling
Korean Pork Bulgogi (with Muu Namul, Kong Namul)
Lobster Congee from a Lobster Feast
Pork Jowl (Pork Cheeks) with Brown Sugar Rub
Beef Salpicao
Cuban Arroz con Salchichas (Yellow Rice with Vienna Sausages)
Cuban Pastelitos de Guayaba y Queso (Guava and Cheese Pastries)
Vietnamese Spring Roll (Cha Gio)
Grilled Fish Fillet on Oregano
Pastéli (Greek Sesame Snaps)


  1. Oh, I love fried chicken. Probably too much :-) And yours has got me salivating!

    Amazing what a little fish sauce and garlic can do, huh? I bet this type of chicken would also be good on the grill (if it was summer and not snowing!)

  2. hmmm... fried chicken without ketchup, this must truly be good! :)

  3. I've never heard of ketchup and fried chicken, but I can your father could see the light!

    I must try this -- I've long been on a quest to have a chicken that beats out Popeyes, and I think this might be it!

  4. That chicken looks & sounds wonderful I can see why you got the compliment. I think I may have to try this marinade for faux fried chicken

  5. Oh man looks great! I just made some stick-to-your-arteries chicken fried steak the other day, but now I'm craving another deep fried food!

  6. Fabulous idea! And I'm so with you on getting compliments like that from family members! Kudos to a job well done!

  7. That fried chicken looks delicious! I can just imagine the flavors in the chicken, how tasty it would be.

  8. Oh, this looks so good! A friend of mine is a big fan of Thai food and is collecting Thai recipes, so I am going to pass your recipe on to her. Thank you!

  9. Totally understand why you would put off frying for that long a time. Vats of hot and oil and I don't want to be in the same room together.

  10. Fried chicken, my BC buds needs crispy skin and you've got that here.

    Everything else is negotiable.

  11. I love fried chicken but too lazy to fry them myself....upon seeing these beautiful babies...I will visit nearest KFC asap! hehehe

    they are so beautiful i could cry, girls! nothing I adore more than fried chicken...

  12. Man, I wish I was at that birthday party. Yum!

  13. Hmm, for some weird reason all your posts since December 10 suddenly came pouring in my feed reader!

    Congratulations on a fried chicken that won your dad over! I am quite the ketchup lover myself ;) I wonder if it's much easier to fry inside a pressure cooker...

  14. Ooh, I've been eyeing that recipe too! Yours looks even better.


  15. JS has been on a fried chicken kick because of this recipe!

    Oh, GRILLED! Great idea. And yes, not right now, haha... It's actually snowing here in Vancouver!

    Well, he does like ketchup with other non-ketchup-suited food as well... so... We always say he's INSULTING our cooking by putting ketchup on our food! ;)

    Marc @ NoRecipes:
    Haha, frankly, I was a tad suprised to find country-fried steak on your blog! =D

    Not to mention the batch-cookery! I'm still safe from the frying; as long as someone else does it... =)

    Mochachocolata Rita:
    Wow, I never realized it was so easy to capture your heart! Don't let all the boys know! =)

    Yeah, our reader acts weird sometimes too.

    Sounds scary, frying inside a pressure cooker!

    Wandering Chopsticks:
    Wow, thay's a good compliment too! =D

  16. you can almost see how crunchy it must've been. yum. we had the same issue of frying for a big group last christmas when we did a fritto misto. it was a pain in the ass and really stressful. plus i got burned about 3 times.

    go dad... put down the ketchup!

  17. We Are Never FullL
    Party + Frying = Bad Idea.

    Too bad the ketchup bottle only got put down for this chicken. =(

  18. Can't wait to have this in Patong again

  19. You have literally got my mouth watering! This chicken looks amazing! And fried chicken without ketchup!? WOW! It must be good!

  20. this looks so so so SO good! my hubby just loves fried chicken, and since we only have it on occasion, i'm gonna treat him with this recipe! :) thanks!

  21. Although I was born and raised in Brooklyn New York, I now live in Atlanta Georgia.

    I can tell you for sure that ONLY southern black women know how to fry chicken properly.

  22. Are there, or should there be any concerns about using leftover marinade? I mean, it shouldn't be a big deal so long as the marinade is heated up to a bacteria-killing temperature, right?

    Or am I overthinking always.

  23. Those are really good looking fried chicken you got there! Iv never used rice flour but that's gonna change. ;)


  24. Joy the Baker:
    Haha, thanks!

    If you seldom make it, might as well go all out when you do make fried chicken, right? =)

    Yeah, we just made sure that the liquid boiled. =)

    Salt N Turmeric/Farina:
    I think rice flour gives it a crisper crust.

  25. Hey, Grace mentioned your site and I'm glad I checked it out. We made 3 kinds of wings during Super Bowl Sunday and I used this recipe for of of them. It was very good. We didn't have any rice flour so I used Potato Starch Flour instead which turned out good. I'll check back often to try out more recipes.

  26. jlu:
    Thanks! We should give Grace referral fees! ;)

  27. Good idea... Yummi
    I'll try it

  28. dana:
    It's been quite the hit with anybody who's tried it. =)

  29. I made this recipe twice after reading numerous posts with various bloggers on this ver recipe from Chez Pim. I had such high hopes and as much as I enjoyed it it wasn't OMG raving like everyone else. It's not that it was good but I couldn't get blown away like all the positive posts it's received. Oh well, it's just me I guess.

  30. Anonymous:
    Oh, that's too bad. I think it's a hit just because people don't usually expect that fish sauce-y dimension to their fried chicken. That is, the meat is more flavorful than normal because of the marinade.

    As for myself, I also enjoy it, but I don't specifically get a craving for it. It's a different story altogether with JS or our other relatives, though. So maybe it's just me too! Hehe.

  31. Omg I can't wait to get my hands on some chicken and try this recipe. Just to give KFC a run for their money, no?

    Looks absolutely deeeeeelish.


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