Who doesn’t like fried chicken? There are lots of fantastic fried chicken recipes out there and my kids particularly adore har cheong kai or prawn paste chicken. I think of all meats, chicken is perhaps the most flavour neutral (besides turkey) and like a blank canvas, takes on the flavour of strong-tasting marinades well.
I decided to up the amp on this chicken by using relatively bold flavours. Fermented bean curd is a strong-flavoured preserved tofu that is also known as chinese cheese. I remember a family holiday as a child, being at the old Rasa Sentosa buffet breakfast, I picked out this item called “chinese cheese”. Believing that it was cheese, I popped the cube into my mouth and nearly keeled over. Fermented bean curd has an extremely strong salty and slightly winey flavour, and usually only a tiny bit is used to flavour rice porridge or vegetable dishes. My family didn’t stop reminding me about my chinese cheese encounter till several years after the event.
Fermented bean curd cubes (picture from about-chinesefood.com)
The other strong flavour in this marinade is fish sauce. I was recently introduced to Red Boat fish sauce, which is a high grade, first press (extra virgin!) Vietnamese fish sauce. Thanks Sandra (my lobang queen friend) for finding the sauce and buying it for me! Somehow this fish sauce has a more mellow flavour than Thai fish sauce. Just adding a bit of this sauce to anything seems to enhance the flavour of the dish. Apparently it doesn’t have MSG, but to me it has plenty umami flavour.
So there you go – a surprising mix of fermented bean curd, fish sauce and ginger in the chicken marinade. You would think these flavours would war together but they make a surprisingly good alliance. We had it for dinner tonight and according to kid #2, this fried chicken has been “teen-certified” and approved. 😄👍
Fermented Bean Curd Fried Chicken Wings
- 10 pieces of fresh chicken wings
- 2 pieces fermented bean curd
- 1 tsp of sauce or brine that comes with the bean curd
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 2 cm knob of young ginger, grated
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
Coating and garnish
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp of tapioca flour
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 stalk of spring onions, finely sliced
- Finely chop the garlic. Grate the ginger (I used a microplane grater). Mash the beancurd and mix in with the garlic and ginger. Mix in fish sauce and bean curd juice. Coat the chicken wings, then refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Lightly coat the chicken wings in the tapioca flour, shaking off the excess flour.
- Heat up the oil in a wok or a pot over medium heat.
- Fry the chicken wings until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain then dry on paper towels.
- Lightly fry the sliced garlic in the oil until lightly browned. Place on paper towels to soak up the oil.
- Serve hot with sliced fried garlic and chopped spring onions on top.