Saturday, February 13, 2010
Balinese Fried Chicken
Fried chicken wings. Who doesn't love fried chicken wings? There are so many variations: barbeque wings, buffalo wings, just plain old wings covered in batter, honey lemon wings, etc. I've always have crispy batter-less wings fried with fish sauce from my mom...because I'm Vietnamese unless you haven't noticed already. That can be the story for another day.
Since my visit to the island of Singapore, I've been searching and researching recipes from that region like crazy. But one thing at a time, right? Right. That's why I started with Balinese fried chicken.
Noticed that there are no "wings" listed in the name. That's because traditionally, a whole chicken is used, not just the wings. To make life a bit simple for me, because I do not have the means to chop a chicken into 16 pieces, I made just wings! Here, let me introduce you to them...to all 1.5 lbs of them.
Then the other players: onions (shallots is preferred), ginger (galangal is preferred but how the hell am I going to get galangal without access to an Asian market?), and lime. The other characters not shown here are: lemon grass, garlics, red chili, turmeric, and a can (8 oz) of coconut milk.
The following members of the recipes get chopped: onions, ginger, garlics, and red chili. The lemon grass stalk should get bruised (i.e. beat the hell out of it). The lime should get zested. I don't have a zester nor a grater so I had to peel the skin thinly and then chopped it, too. I cut half of a lime and squeezed the juice into the wing bowl, mixed, and let it sit.
The chopped up ingredients get thrown together into an oiled pan and fried for about a minute or until it the fragrances are released. I cheated with the lemon grass. My mom already had a tub of pre-chopped lemon grass.
The coconut milk joined the scene along with a teaspoon of turmeric. Be careful with that turmeric, it will dye your fingers yellow for days...or worst, dye my (maybe yours, too) cheap countertop forever!
Supposedly, salt is used in this recipe, but I would kill myself if I didn't use fish sauce. So I did. I added about 2 tablespoons into the mixture. The wings were added and left to cook.
There is something especially appetizing about coconut milk mixing with lime even for a coconut milk un-enthusiast like me. During the 30 minutes that I was supposed to let the chicken cook and the sauce reduced, I literally just stood over the pot and sniff it. I had to tear myself away from the pot to julienne some cucumbers. See? Pretty!
When the chicken are done, remove from the sauce and set up another vat with oil for the deep frying.
Being the cheap ass that I am, I did not set up a vat of oil. It was more like a half vat of oil. Frying wings with a lot of oil is kinda fun...seeing the bubbling oil around the pieces of browning wings...until those oil bubbles burst and hit you in the face! But it's easy! Once both sides are all nice and golden, remove from oil and let drain on a paper towel.
Serve golden and crispy wings with julienned cucumbers, rice and sweet chili sauce. Yum!
Confession: The reduced coconut sauce was smelling too good and tasting too great for me to just throw away, so I added some more water to it and cook my rice in it.
Note: The chicken was a bit bland for my taste, so I would suggest that instead of throwing the fish sauce into the coconut mixture to cook, it should be used to marinade the chicken separately before you cook it.
Balinese Fried Chicken
1.5 lbs of chicken wings
about 1/2 inch of ginger root or galangal - finely chopped
1 small stalk of lemon grass - bruised
1 can of coconut milk (8 oz)
zest of 1 lime
1/2 lime of juice
3 shallots or 1 small red onion - finely chopped
3 or 4 cloves of garlic - minced
2 or 3 red or green chilies - chopped
1 teaspoon of turmeric
oil for frying
salt or fish sauce
1 small cucumber - julienned
sweet chili sauce
Rub juice from 1/2 of a lime over the wings and let sit.
Combine ginger, onions, garlics, chilies, lemon grass, and lime zest and fry in a deep pan until fragrance. One option is to make a paste of these ingredients in a food processor before frying them.
Add coconut milk, turmeric and salt or fish sauce (2 tablespoons) to the pan.
Add the chicken and let cook for about 30 minutes.
Remove chicken and fry in a generous amount of oil until golden. Drain on paper towel.
Serve with julienned cucumber and sweet chili sauce.