Let’s start by agreeing that this is going to taste great. This recipe is from the True Thai cookbook by Hong Thaimee. It’s called midnight fried chicken, in the book, being perfect for eating well after dinner if you get hungry again before bed. That name is obviously a cultural thing in Thailand.
Note that this is actually two recipes, in that you need to make the crazy-delicious marinade separately from the chicken. Also note that the marinade can be used for a ton of different uses, so don’t be afraid to make the entire amount and freeze what you don’t immediately use.
This recipe is very similar to Japan’s tori-no-kara-age and Hawaii’s Hawaiian chicken, in that it’s marinated chicken deep-fried without a batter. As such, it’s pretty low-fat for something that’s fried. Besides the marinade, the only difference between the Japanese and Hawaiian versions is that this recipe called for dredging in flour instead of potato or corn starch. I’d actually like to make this again with the starch instead of flour to see how that turns out.
I departed significantly from the recipe in that I used boneless chicken thighs cut in half, instead of the whole pieces of chicken. The Feral Cooks avoid chicken bones like Covid-19. If you go the boneless route, be sure to adjust the cooking time downward.
What you’ll need for the chicken:
- A bunch of chicken pieces, whole or boneless.
- 2 cups Ngam’s House Marinade (you likely won’t need that much—maybe half. Depends on the amount of chicken you’re cooking)
- Neutral oil for frying
- Salt (Why, I don’t know, the marinade has tons of salty fish sauce)
What you’ll need for the marinade (makes about 2 cups):
- 0.25 cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves, stems and roots
- 1 cup peeled garlic cloves—yeah, a cup
- 2t whole white peppercorns
- 1 cup fish sauce
- 0.5 cups shaved palm sugar (you could probably get away with using light or dark brown sugar, but you’d need maybe 0.25 cups, as it’s more dense than shaved palm sugar.)
- 1 cup oyster sauce
- 5 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and cut into short lengths
- 2T ground turmeric
- 1t salt (Again, why? Fish sauce is crazy-salty)
What to do for the marinade
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor (or use an immersion blender) until chopped up and well combined.
What to do for the chicken:
In a large bowl or gallon-size sealable freezer bag, add the chicken and enough marinade to cover each piece. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to overnight.
Heat your fry oil in whatever vessel you use to 375 degrees F.
While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat them, shaking off the extra. Carefully add the dredged pieces to the oil and cook until crisp. For full-size bone-in pieces, this could take up to 20 minutes or so.
When cooked, transfer the chicken to a wire rack to drain. Serve hot.