What do the street food carts of Thailand, the kitchens of America’s deep south, the bustling Shilin night markets in Taipei and Chennai’s Buhari restaurant in southern India have in common? Mouth-watering, lip-smacking, crispy fried chicken. Whether it’s marinated in coriander root or Tabasco, fried in a skillet or submerged in a bubbling vat of oil, served with a squeeze of lemon or coated in a spicy Korean glaze, the delight of indulging in a fried chicken fix is the same the world over.
By
Rachel Bartholomeusz

17 Dec 2014 - 10:46 AM  UPDATED 17 Dec 2014 - 10:46 AM

Thai

Gai tod nahm prik pao

Deep-fried chicken, or gai tod, is something of an obsession in Thailand. Sold from street carts, the chicken pieces – often wings or small drumsticks – are marinated in a mixture of spices and aromatics, and then dredged in rice flour, which lends an extra crispness, before being fried. This recipe is inspired by a dish from much-loved Sydney restaurant Chat Thai. After being fried, the gai tod is wok-tossed in a sauce of nahm prik pao, or Thai chilli paste. For ease, we’ve used chicken thigh pieces here.

 

Indian

Chicken 65

Originating in Chennai, southern India, this spicy snack is now a mainstay on menus all over the country. There are countless theories that surround the number 65 in its name – some say that’s how many days the chicken should be reared for, others argue it represents the original number of the dish on the menu, and there’s even a claim it refers to the amount of chillies that should be added. The most widely accepted version is that it originated from Chennai’s Buhari restaurant in 1965. Semantics (and all else) will fade to a distant memory at just one bite of this deep-fried favourite.

 

Taiwanese

Taiwanese fried chicken

With the arrival of popular Taipei chain Hot Star Large Fried Chicken, Sydney and Melbourne are in the grip of a Taiwanese fried chicken frenzy. Originating in Taipei’s Shilin night markets, the juicy schnitzel-style snack measures in at about 30 cm long. Its crumbly crunchy coating is generously doused in a sweet, salty and spicy seasoning with the ability to opt-in for extra chilli. Here’s our version.

 

American

Southern fried chicken

America’s south offers rich pickings for fried chicken, where there are as many recipes for this Sunday favourite as there are cooks. Marinating the chicken in buttermilk tenderises the meat, while cayenne pepper and other seasonings bring flavour and a chilli kick. The most distinctive feature of this recipe, though, is that it’s cooked in a skillet, which allows for better heat control and perfectly cooked chicken.

 

Greek

Kotopoulo tiganito

Vibrant flavours of the Mediterranean add a Greek accent to this comfort food dish. The Greeks are the masters of succulent, marinated meats, and this chicken is coated in a garlicky, zesty marinade, and flavoured with fragrant herbs such coriander, juniper berries and bay leaves, before being fried. Served with fried oregano sprigs and extra lemon to squeeze over the top, it’s best eaten with a shot or two of ouzo.

 

Korean

Dakgangjeong 

The Colonel can keep his 11 secret herbs and spices – Korean fried chicken (dakgangjeong) has taken the world by storm. These marinated wings are coated in cornflour, twice-fried until crisp and golden, and then coated in a sticky, sweet, spicy, tangy and completely addictive sauce that will have you licking the plate, not just your fingers. Did we mention these delicious glazed morsels are also topped with chopped peanuts? Step aside, Colonel.

 

Photography by Brett Stevens. Food preparation by Phoebe Wood. Styling by Vivien Walsh. 

As seen in Feast magazine, June 2014, Issue 32. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.