Fried chicken is a common street food in Thailand, eaten as both a finger food and main course dish. Unlike Western-style fried chicken, where the coating is thick and tasty while the chicken beneath can be bland, Thai fried chicken features a crisp coating with a flavor that reaches deep into the meat. It's the special marinade paste that does the trick, a wonderful concoction of Thai herbs and spices. Great as a party finger food, or anytime you want to make dinner into a special treat—simply pair with Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping
- 8 to 9 chicken pieces, drumsticks, wings, or other pieces (smaller pieces cook fastest)
- 2 to 3 cups oil for frying
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander (leaves and stems)
- 6 to 7 cloves garlic
- 1 fresh chili or 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed chili
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste (available at Asian food stores)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup rice flour (available in most supermarkets)
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon 5-spice powder (optional)
Place all spice paste/marinade ingredients (coriander, garlic, 3/4 tablespoon chili, black pepper, ground coriander, ground cumin, cumin seeds, oyster sauce, fish sauce, shrimp paste, sugar) together in a mini-chopper or food processor (or use a pestle & mortar). Blitz (or pound) to create a flavorful Thai spice paste/marinade.
Place chicken pieces in a bowl or Ziploc bag. Add the marinade and stir to coat. Allow chicken to marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Combine the flour mixture ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stirring well to combine.
Keeping as much of the herb & spice paste on chicken as possible, dredge chicken in the flour mixture to coat and set on a plate next to the stove.
Pour oil into a large frying pan or wok and set over medium-high heat. You want the oil to be at least 1 inch deep.
When the oil is hot enough to fry a cube of bread to golden brown in 20 to 30 seconds, it is ready to use. Gently place flour-coated chicken in the hot oil. Let chicken fry at least 5 minutes before turning. Reduce heat a little as you fry, or oil may overheat and splatter.
Fry chicken 10 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness. When uniformly dark golden brown in color, remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping, either store-bought or homemade Thai sweet chili sauce.