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Crispy Twice-Fried Chicken

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In Kuala Lumpur, there are as many permutations of fried chicken as there are purveyors. This version is one of the simplest, as it doesn't require long brining or dredging the chicken in flour and battering it. Instead, using easy-to-find ingredients, the recipe calls for mixing up a spice paste quickly in a food processor, then massaging it into the chicken. The spice-rubbed chicken is fried once until nearly cooked through, then fried again to ensure crispy skin every time.

Spice Paste

  1. 4 small shallots, quartered
  2. 2 teaspoons pure chile powder
  3. 1 teaspoon belacan
  4. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  6. 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  7. 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  8. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. 1 teaspoon sugar
  11. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  12. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  2. One 4-pound chicken cut into 12 pieces (each breast half cut into thirds)
  1. In a mini food processor, combine all of the ingredients and process to a dry paste.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 365°. Rub the spice paste all over the chicken pieces, massaging it in. When the oil is ready, carefully add the chicken and fry over moderately high heat until partially cooked, about 8 minutes for breast pieces and 15 minutes for thighs, drumsticks and wings. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Reheat the vegetable oil to 365°. Add the chicken and fry until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes for breast pieces and 5 to 6 minutes for the wings and dark meat. Drain the chicken on paper towels and serve.
Make Ahead The chicken can be rubbed with the spice paste and refrigerated for 2 hours before frying. Notes Belacan is a pungent seasoning made by grinding small shrimp into a paste that is fermented, dried and pressed into cakes. Belacan is often toasted before being used. It can be ordered from

Suggested Pairing

The complex, delicious spice rub on this chicken will pair nicely with Pinot Noir, particularly from a cool-climate region like Oregon's Willamette Valley, where the weather typically points up the grape variety's natural spiciness.



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