"This Malaysian favourite is ridiculously simple to put together. It's excellent as a casual starter or finger food and makes a superb beer snack. I must warn you to smack away any greedy fingers lurking around when you cook it up or you might find your portions somewhat dwindled!" Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co.
- 2 kg chicken wings, wingtip and drumette separated, or legs
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp ground turmeric
- 3 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1-2 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
- 2 tsp salt, crushed into very fine grains with a mortar and pestle
- 10 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
- 1 ½ litres vegetable, peanut or ricebran oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 2 hours or overnight
Combine the chicken pieces, garlic and soy in a bowl and toss to coat evenly. Mix the turmeric, coriander, ginger, chilli and salt in a small bowl and pour over the chicken. Wearing disposable gloves (because turmeric stains with a vengeance) mix with your hands until the chicken is thoroughly covered with the spices and seasoning. Scrunch the curry leaves roughly in your hands and nestle them amongst the chicken pieces, then transfer into a snap-lock bag pushing as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing. Alternatively, place in a bowl and cover with cling wrap. Marinate in the fridge over 1-2 nights for a superior result or a minimum of 2 hours.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or wok over medium-high heat. To test the oil, rest the tips of your chopsticks on the bottom of the saucepan and if a flurry of bubbles rises rapidly to the surface, you are good to go. Always do a test-fry with a single piece of chicken. If the oil is too, hot the chicken will burn on the outside before it is cooked all the way through.
Fry 5-6 pieces of chicken at a time, for about 5-7 minutes per batch, together with the curry leaves (beware, these will spit violently), as this will make the oil beautifully fragrant. The result should be a deep golden brown with a vibrant yellow tint and the outside of the chicken wonderfully crunchy. Rest the cooked chicken on kitchen towel in a colander. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.
Serve with the fried curry leaves (which are to be eaten).
• If using chicken legs, score twice across the fattest part of the flesh all the way to the bone. This will help the chicken cook through easier. Also, factor in a longer cooking time.
Photograph by Randy Larcombe Photography.
Reproduced with permission from the book Same Same But Different by Poh Ling Yeow, published by ABC Books/HarperCollins Publishers Australia, 2014.