Fried chicken goes global. From Korean-style garlic fried chicken, Japan-style toriniku tatsuta-age, Indonesian-style ayam penyet, Thai-style fried chicken to Vietnam-style "har jiong gai 虾酱鸡" (fried shrimp paste chicken), the crispy skin and moist white meat literally make the world go round.
I used to have belachan (stinky but luscious Malaysian shrimp paste) fried chicken in Super Tanker hawker centre situated in Penang Lip Sin garden and the acquired taste resembled this home-cooked Vietnam-style fried shrimp paste chicken, with a very distinctive pungent and briny shrimp paste flavor. The secret of this flavorful fried chicken relies heavily on the shrimp paste marinade, a brownish-grey-colored condiment made from fermented shrimps (scroll down to see shrimp paste photo). You have to let it marinates for minimum 2 hours and long enough to allow the mixture of strong salty taste of the shrimp paste, ginger juice, rose wine and sugar to seep into the chicken, giving it a distinctive aroma and flavor. The flour (tapioca flour and plain flour mixture in the ratio of 1:1) coating adds a light crispy crust to the exterior, providing a delightful crunch while you chomp on it in your mouth. This fried shrimp paste chicken ("har jiong gai") is simply leaving my hubby and daughter went nut for it, it's such a plate-sweeper!
This shrimp paste chicken can commercially be found in many Hong Kong-style restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia. I'm going to lay out Vietnam-style fried shrimp paste chicken ("har jiong gai" or 越南式虾酱炸鸡) recipe here. If the pictures above make you coveting and ravenous with hunger, why not try to lay your hand to make this Vietnam-style fried chicken in your own kitchen? It's an easy home-cooked recipe without require you to break a sweat.
1/2 chicken, cleaned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
Enough oil for deep-frying
Calamansi limes, sliced tomato or sliced cucumber, for garnish
Chicken Marinade :
5cm length of ginger, grate and squeeze to get 1 1/2 tbsp ginger juice
2 tbsp Chinese rose wine (玫瑰露酒)
1 1/2 tbsp Chinese shrimp paste (Cantonese pronounced as "har jiong", 虾酱)
1 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp sugar
For Coating :
50g tapioca flour (木薯粉)
50g plain flour
1. Grate ginger and squeeze to get 1 1/2 tbsp ginger juice. In a large bowl, combine ginger juice with rose wine, shrimp paste, rice flour and sugar. Add chicken and mix well. Cover airtight with cling film wrap and let marinate, refrigerated for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours, preferably overnight.
2. Heat oil until it shimmers and a light haze forms. Sift both tapioca flour and plain flour together onto a plate, and dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture to coat lightly but thoroughly. Shake off excess flour.
3. Fry chicken a few pieces at a time until golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Drain in a metal sieve. Drain briefly on kitchen paper towels and serve immediately, garnished with cucumber, tomato slices and cut limes.
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