I’m on a bit of a Malaysian kick at the moment. I’ve not been back in six years, and it’s getting to me. The best thing to do in these circumstances is to head for Rasa Sayang in London’s Chinatown, where, if you half-close your eyes and relax, you can imagine you’re eating in Kuala Lumpur. (In one of the clean bits.) Failing that, you can get out your wok.
To serve four, you’ll need:
1 jointed chicken OR 200g chicken wings
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
4 tablespoons coconut milk (this is an occasion on which the brands with emulsifier work best)
2 heaped tablespoons curry powder
2 inches ginger, grated and squeezed for the juice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
50g rice flour
Oil for deep frying – I used grape seed oil, which has a very high smoke point and a neutral flavour
Try to find a Malaysian curry powder like Linghams which is meant for chicken – they have a very specific and delicious flavour. Failing that, Bolst’s Madras curry powder is always an excellent fallback.
Marinate the jointed chicken or wings in the sugar, coconut, curry powder, ginger juice and soy overnight in the fridge. If you were in Malaysia, you’d take the chicken outside at this point and lay it in the blistering hot sun for half an hour or so, until the marinade had dried onto the meat, and then fry. Fat chance of that in Cambridgeshire. So I use a tip I picked up from one of my cousins, and dredge the wet, marinaded meat with rice flour. Rice flour gives this dish a fantastic crunch, and also retains that crunch when the chicken is cold, making this a brilliant selection for a picnic.
Heat enough oil in your wok to half-submerge the pieces of chicken (or use your deep fryer), and bring to a frying temperature (about 180°C/360°f). Fry the chicken, turning regularly, for about 12 minutes, until cooked through and tender.
Serve immediately, or cool and eat as part of a cold supper or picnic. Worcestershire sauce is a common accompaniment for this, but I much prefer a bowl of soy sauce with some green bird’s eye chilli snipped into it to dip the chicken pieces into.