Which restaurant in Chiang Mai? Sadly, I can’t recall the restaurant’s name. Chances are we didn’t really know its name because business signages in Chiang Mai don’t always come with English translations.
I only remember that we went there because we liked what we saw on the sample menu by the front door while while walking around in search of a money changer.
We ordered fried chicken wings (the specialty), a small bowl of noodles, a mixed pork dish and dragon eggs. The noodles and pork dish were good but it was the chicken wings and dragon eggs that were truly unforgettable.
As with most fried chicken dishes in Southeast Asia, these Thai fried chicken wings were fried twice. First, over medium heat to cook the chicken meat through. Second, over high heat to turn the rice flour-coated surface into a crispy crackling.
Thai fried chicken wings
- 16 to 20 large chicken wingettes
For the marinade
- 6 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 two-inch knob ginger peeled
- 2 stalks lemongrass cut three inch lengths from the root end
- 8 stalks cilantro stem and root end only; reserve the leafy portion for garnish
- 2 bird's eye chilies
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (Thai soy sauce was used in this recipe)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
To cook the chicken
- ½ cup rice flour
- cooking oil for deep frying
- Pat the chicken wingettes dry and place in a mixing bowl.
- With a mortar and pestle (or a food processor), grind the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chilies and cilantro to form a paste. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar.
- Pour the spice paste over the chicken. Mix well. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge to marinate overnight.
- In a wok or frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Dredge each chicken wingettes in rice flour; shake off the excess.
- Over medium heat, fry the chicken drumsticks for six to eight minutes, depending on their size. Do this in batches if your pan is not large enough to accommodate all pieces in a single layer. Rest the chicken on a rack for about five minutes. Don't worry if they appear pale at this stage.
- Turn up the heat to high. Fry the chicken drumsticks a second time, for two to three minutes, until the skin is crisp and nicely browned.
- Serve the Thai-style fried chicken with rice and vegetables.