Ayam Goreng Berempah – Whip It UP!

 FRIED chicken just got finger-licking good with this spice-laden version. It gets 3 flavour boosts: Firstly, the chicken is marinated with ground spices; next, it is cooked with a paste of aromatics that’s essential in Asian cooking; and finally, it is embellished with fragrant deep-fried curry leaves and lemongrass floss which further accentuates the umami factor. So satisfying!

Time: 1½ hours
Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: S$10.00
Serves: 2 persons

A: Marinade For Chicken

3 whole chicken drumsticks or chicken wings, each cut into two
1 tablespoon Nyonya curry powder
1 teaspoon Nyonya ground turmeric*
1 teaspoon Nyonya chilly powder or chilli boh/paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chicken granules

2 stalks curry leaves
500ml cooking oil for frying

B: Aromatic Paste

5 shallots, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
Thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, white portion only

C: Lemongrass Floss

10-12 stalks lemongrass, white portion only
4 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced
Salt and chicken granules to taste

2 tablespoons oil


1. Marinate chicken with B ingredients. Set aside for 4 hours.

2. In a wok or deep frying pan, heat up sufficient cooking oil to cover chicken during frying. Gently put in chicken, exercising caution as hot oil may splatter. Deep fry until chicken turns golden brown evenly. Set aside.

3. To prepare lemongrass floss: Use white portion of lemongrass only. Cut each stalk into 3 parts approximately 2-3cm each.

4. Place ingredients in a food processor to pulse. The lemongrass will start to fray and come apart as shreds. Continue pulsing until texture becomes wispy – this makes it easier to deep fry the lemongrass to a golden crisp.

5. Heat up oil in a wok or frying pan. Put in C ingredients and fry until it turns crisp and flossy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up excess oil.

Set fried lemongrass floss aside.

6. Heat up a wok or frying pan with cooking oil. Toss in curry leaves and fry until fragrant.

7. Tip in fried chicken, followed by lemongrass floss. Toss until chicken is coated with floss. Serve while still hot.

*TIP: For a more pronounced turmeric flavour, use a fresh tuber and mince it until fine. Then combine with the other ground spices to marinate the chicken.

TECHNIQUE:  To achieve a flossy texture in lemongrass, use a food processor to spin until it starts to fray — this way it is easier for the lemongrass to crisp up during deep frying. The pestle and mortar cannot achieve this fine texture.

Photos: Yeoh Lay See

About Yeoh Lay See:
Lay See, an avid home-cook, has a collection of treasured hand-me-down recipes from family, friends as well as from cooking shows in her blog, Laysee’s Kitchen.

Click on STORM-Asia/food for more recipes and reviews of restaurants.

If you have a simple recipe to share, please email it whipitup@storm.sg.

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