Recipe video above. Marinated in a curry paste made with lemongrass, garlic and spices then tossed in cornflour to make the coating ultra craggy and crunchy, Ayam Goreng is Malaysia's answer to Southern Fried Chicken. Hot contender for the world's best fried chicken!Spiciness: Verymild. Feel free to dial it up by adding more chilli powder!
Cuisine: Asian, Malaysian, South East Asian
Keyword: Ayam Goreng, Malaysian Fried Chicken
1.25 kg / 2.5 lbchichen thighs ad drumsticks, bone in skin on (I use 4 thighs, 3 drumsticks, Note 1)
Ayam Goreng Curry Paste:
3garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1tbspginger, roughly chopped
1tbspgalangal, roughly chopped (Note 2)
1 1/2tspcurry powder(any type fine, mild or spicy - your choice)
1lemongrass, white part only roughly chopped (Note 3)
1tbsplarge red chilli(cayenne pepper), deseeded and minced
1tbspgreen onion, minced
Pinch of salt
Toast spices: Toast spices in a small skillet over medium heat (no oil) for 2 minutes or until the spices smell fragrant. Transfer seeds into Nutribullet, small food processor OR into a tall jug that fits a stick blender.
Curry paste: Add remaining Curry Paste ingredients and blend until smooth.
Marinate: Pour Curry Paste over chicken in a ziplock bag (or bowl, Note 6). Toss to coat, then marinate for 24 hours in the fridge, up to 48 hours.
PREPARE TO COOK (WORK IN SPECIFIED ORDER OF STEPS):
Dechill chicken: Remove chicken from fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking and transfer into a bowl (most marinade should be stuck to chicken).
Preheat oven to 80°C/175°F and place rack on tray - to keep chicken warm. (Note 7)
Cornflour coating: Add cornflour to chicken and toss to coat - it will thicken the paste, this is what makes the craggy coating.
Heat oil 180°C/350°F: Pour oil into a wide, heavy based pot to a depth of 6 cm / 2.5 " (my 26cm/10.5" cast iron pot = 1.75L/quarts oil, Note 8). Heat over medium high heat to 180°C/350°F - maintain temp as best you can (Note 9). This recipe will NOT work well with an air fryer – see Note 8.
Fry: Carefully place 3 pieces of chicken in, do not touch for 2 min (to let crust adhere). Oil temperature should drop to 150°C/300°C - increase heat if needed.
Fry 8 minutes (75°C / 167°F): Fry for 8 minutes (wings for 5 minutes), or until deep golden brown and internal temperature at thickest part is 75°C / 167°F.
Keep warm: Place cooked chicken onto rack and keep warm in oven. Cook remaining chicken.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with coriander and garlic-chilli garnish, if using. See in post for side dish suggestions!
Heat 3 tbsp oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chilli, cook until garlic is starting to go light golden. Then add green onion and cook until garlic is golden. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt. Cool then sprinkle on chicken.
1. Chicken - I buy bone in thighs, drumsticks and wings for ease. For true Malaysian fried chicken experience, cut up your own chicken so you get breast pieces as well - ensure you keep the skin on and bone in. Cut breast into 2 pieces through the bone.Smaller is better - thighs 200g/7oz or less is better, to ensure they cook through so you don't need to worry about fuss with finishing them in the oven. I've cooked 220g/7.7oz bone in thighs with no problems. If they get to 250g/8.8oz then you either need to take them to very, very deep golden in the oil OR finish in oven.CHICKEN BITES: Recipe works really well with bite size chicken too. Use boneless thigh fillets, cut into large 4 x 5cm / 1.6 x 2" pieces. Follow recipe to marinade and coat, then fry 3 minutes. (Breast works too but take care cooking as it dries out easier).2. Galangal is an ingredient used in South East Asian cooking that looks like ginger and tastes like ginger but is more citrusy. It's actually pretty hard to cut so take care when slicing it! Peel it like ginger - either with a sharp edge teaspoon or (carefully!) with a small knife. Find it at Asian stores, and in some large grocery stores in Australia (Harris Farms and some Woolworths sell it).Sub: Use the same amount of ginger + the zest of 1 lime (or lemon).3. Lemongrass - To prepare, cut and discard the top reedy part off - we only want the bottom 10 - 12cm / 4 - 5". Peel the reedy green shell to reveal the softer white part on the bottom half of the lemongrass.Sub: 1 tbsp lemongrass paste.4. Eschalots - Also known as French onions, and are called “shallots” in the US. They look like baby onions, but have purple-skinned flesh, are finer and sweeter. Not to be confused with what some people in Australia call “shallots” ie the long green onions.They vary drastically in size! We want to use 2 x small(ish) ones, around 2/3 cup in total once chopped.5. Chilli powder - This recipe calls for pure chilli powder, not US chili powder which is a blend of spices and is not as spicy (often labelled "blend"). Anything labelled "chilli powder" in Australia (and generally outside the US) is pure chilli. If you're in the US, best to go to an Asian store, bit tricky to be 100% confident when buying online.Easy sub - Cayenne pepper. Similar spice level, and with all the other flavours going on, no one will be able to tell it's cayenne pepper.6. Bowl will work too, but ziplock bags work better because it works better to keep the marinade coated on the chicken.7. Keeping chicken warm - this is the temp at which chicken will stay warm, keep the coating crispy but will not continue to cook the chicken inside. Rack required to ensure underside of chicken stays super crispy.8. Frying vessel - I feel safe using a heavy cast iron pot because it's heavy so it won't move. For most oil efficiency, use a wok - shape means you will use about 30% less oil with same surface area for frying. If you have a deep fryer, I salute you!Air fryers: Sorry, this recipe won't work in an air fryer! The batter is quite wet, so it's unlikely to crisp properly. Feel free to try though, and let people know in the comments how you went!9. Oil temperature - use a thermometer or surface scanner thermometer. If you don't have one, test by throwing in a lump of breading - should sizzle straight away but not burn quickly. OR stick a bamboo chopstick in and touch the base of the pot - if bubbles rise from floor of pot, oil is hot enough.Cook time will vary based on factors like chicken size, pot heat retention, stability of stove etc. Best to use thermometer to check internal temperature, I have a Thermapen. The cook times provided in the recipe are for the chicken weights specified and heat oil temps provided, assuming a cast iron pot is used. Also use crust colour as a guide - it should be deep golden (darker than Southern Fried Chicken).10. Cooking order - thighs and drumsticks cook in the same time, cook together first. Then wings, then (if using breast) do breast last. Reason: dark meat stays juicier in warmed oven, and breast cooks faster.11. Oil reuse - I clean my oil using this simple cornflour/cornstarch method from Cooks Illustrated, else you can use a very fine mesh strainer (though some bits will get through) or just let the find bits settle then pour the clear top part off. Usually, I comfortably re-use oil 3 times once cleaned when frying mild flavoured foods. Unfortunately with Ayam Goreng, I find that it's really not re-usable except to make similarly seasoned foods again because of the strength of the seasonings and because you cook with it for a good 25 minutes which is using the oil a lot more than usual deep frying recipes.