All I can say about this chicken is that it’s lip-smacking, finger-licking good!
It is served in all ‘mamak’ stalls (outdoor food stalls) in Malaysia, which are open until the wee hours of the morning – perfect for a late supper after a big night out at a club. It’s great as an appetiser, but it’s usually served as a main with coconut rice.
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 5 small red Asian shallots, halved and skin removed
- 1 x 4 cm (1½ inch) piece ginger, coarsely chopped
- 2 lemongrass stems, pale part only, bruised and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (optional)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, plus extra to serve (optional)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce, plus extra to serve (optional)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder
- 3 teaspoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon whole aniseeds
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 35 g (1¼ oz/¼ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus extra to serve
- 3 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar
- 4 chicken Marylands (leg quarters), skin on, each cut into 3 pieces (ask your butcher to do this for you)
- canola or vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Put the garlic, shallot, ginger and lemongrass in a food processor and process to a fine paste, adding canola oil if required to reach a paste consistency. Stir in the lime juice, soy sauce and egg.
Combine the spices, flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl, then whisk in the garlic mixture until combined. Add the chicken pieces and mix until each piece is well coated in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or saucepan to 180°C (350°C), or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds. Working in batches of three pieces at a time (or more, depending on the size of your fryer or pan), carefully ease the chicken into the oil and cook for 7–9 minutes, or until crisp, golden brown and cooked through (smaller pieces will cook in seven minutes, while larger pieces will need an extra minute or two). Drain well on a plate lined with paper towel. Cover with foil to keep warm while you cook the remaining pieces. Before you start each new batch, make sure you have fished out all the bits and pieces floating in the oil.
Sprinkle with extra sea salt and serve with extra soy sauce or lime juice, if liked.