Tea and marriage, separation and fried chicken
My husband claims he fell in love with me when I served him a cup of tea at my brother’s house all those years ago.
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I made this dish my own by using tapioca starch (Southeast Asian cooks prefer this to cornstarch) which I think gives the chicken a crispier edge and nira (Japanese chives) instead of green onions.Skip to next paragraph
Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Patricia Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens and has been published in numerous national and regional publications. Pat is also the creator of the “Asian Ingredients 101” iPhone and Android app, a glossary on-the-go that’s the perfect companion on a trip to the Asian market. Her first book, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens, will be available in paperback in September 2012.
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Mochiko Fried Chicken
Time: 45 minutes, plus marinating
Makes: 4 to 6 servings as part of a multi-course family-style meal
2-1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
1/4 cup tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
1/4 cup sugar
Small bunch nira (or green onions), chopped (1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
Debone the chicken, and reserve the bones to make stock. Cut the meat into 2-inch chunks.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, soy sauce, mochiko, tapioca starch, sugar, nira, and garlic. Tumble in the chicken and toss to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or preferably 12 hours.
Bring the chicken to room temperature before frying.
Line a plate with paper towels. In a large heavy skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil over high heat until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer. Reduce the heat to medium. Using tongs or cooking chopsticks, carefully lower thickly coated chicken pieces one at a time into the oil. You are shallow-frying, so the pieces will only be half submerged. Fry in a batch of seven to eight pieces (don’t overcrowd the pan) until both sides are crispy and evenly golden brown, two to three minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, shaking off excess oil, and drain on paper towels. Use a slotted spoon or a wire mesh strainer to remove any debris from the oil and repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
Serve hot with freshly steamed short-grain rice, or cold as an appetizer or picnic food.
Related post on The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Chicken larb and purple sticky rice
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