My holidays this year took me to Thailand, where we spent a grand total of 17 days wishing we had booked to stay longer, and particularly wishing we had stayed in Bangkok for a longer period of time than just two days. On the advice of many, we visited beach areas, and lush jungle, loving the chilled feel and landscape in the latter, but being slightly disappointed by the former. Thailand is amazing. The beaches are equally amazing. However, once you’ve been to the beach, I can’t help but feel that most beaches in the world are rather similar, no matter how white the sand and how sheer the rock faces around them are. Everything is tailored to the tourists – and as tourists, we should expect this, and it’s rather ironic to complain about such a thing, but there comes a point where there is only so much ‘fake’ Thailand you can take. Trying to relax on a tiny patch of sand when there are 50 other boatloads of tourists milling around you taking selfies is not my idea of the best beach in the world.
The thing that I loved most about the Land of Smiles, as Thailand is known there, was the cheap, beautiful, flavoursome food that was available on every street corner, at every turn took, and even available at the beach, from sellers carting baked bananas, sweetcorn, and coconuts galore around with them in the sweltering heat. Curries with layers of complex flavour left me gagging for more, and I could have spent hours in the supermarket deciphering packages of snacks, drinks, and desserts, all of them calling my name, begging me to try them. Time was our enemy in this case – there were so many dishes I wanted to taste. The best places to eat where the dirtiest, grubbiest carts at the roadside, surrounded by plastic chairs and tables blackened by dirt and exhaust fumes. There, we enjoyed many meals at around just 1€ each – including drink. Going off the beaten track proved even more rewarding – places where English wasn’t on the menu meant we got to eat just like the Thais – cheaply and spicily! I’ve come back to Spain with a taste of Thailand in my mouth and an urge to learn as many recipes as possible, recreate them, enjoy them, and make them my own. I spend most days in the Asian supermarkets, fawning over foreign spices and strange-looking vegetables.
One thing we never got to try in Thailand was street fried chicken. With so much available to us, it was one of those things that just happened to pass us by. Whilst watching a Thai cooking channel on Youtube, I stumbled across a recipe for Thai fried chicken, and knew I had to try some. The problem was that the recipe called for chicken wings, and I really dislike chicken skin, so I decided to rehash the recipe to the best of my ability, and from what I remembered on the video. It was also my first ever time making deep fried chicken, so I was keen to see the results.
I was NOT disappointed. This chicken is the best I’ve ever had, and I realise that means I’m not only blowing my own trumpet – I’m practically doing it until I’m blue in the face…but seriously, this chicken is almost worthy of me adding swear words into this sentence. I’m not going to – that would be vulgar, but I’m finding it hard to describe how good this chicken is without using a four-letter word. It’s ridiculously easy and sure to be a hit with anyone who tries it, so why not give it a go? It was great for us to try as it uses rice flour, so my boyfriend finally got some fried chicken, as most places here use breadcrumbs or normal flour. This recipe, however, is gluten-free.
What you’ll need:
2 tbsp black/white pepper (mixed).
1 whole fresh red chilli
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 shallots/baby onions
1 tsp fish sauce
3/4 tbsps soy sauce
100g rice flour (approx)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (optional)
3 chicken breasts, cut into strips.
Vegetable oil for frying
2 more shallots, for garnish
First you’ll need a pestle and mortar. It would be quite difficult to make without one, but if you chop up your garlic and shallots rrreeeeallly small, you might be able to do it!
Chop up your garlic and shallots, then pound in the pestle and mortar until they resemble a paste. Add in your chilli, again chopped, and continue to pound.Now it’s time to stir in your pepper, salt, and sugar. Add these to the minced garlic/shallots and keep on pounding – hope your hand isn’t too tired yet!
Mix in the wet sauces – soy and fish. Transfer mixture to a freezer bag, or a container to marinate the chicken in. The bag is better as it allows you to rub the mixture into the chicken without getting yourself too messy.
Put chicken into freezer bag, and rub in the mixture. Make sure it’s fully coated, and then store in the fridge for 1hr minimum. The longer you leave it, the better the flavour’ll be.
When your chicken is ready, whizz up a batter in a bowl. Pour in some of your rice flour (you can easily make more, so I’d say play this one by ear…or eye) and bicarb, and mix well with water until a smooth batter is formed. It should be liquidy, rather than just a paste. Add further soy sauce if desired.
Prepare a plate with the remaining rice flour, and a sheet of tin foil to rest the chicken on before cooking. Dip the chicken in the batter, then transfer to the rice flour plate, and coat thoroughly. Set the battered chicken onto the tin foil. Do this until all are completely coated. Leave to dry out a little on the tin foil sheet. Chop up your remaining shallots ready for frying. Don’t chop them too small, just enough to crisp up.
Prepare a pan of hot oil. It’ll need to be enough to deep fry the chicken. Get the temperature up to optimum for frying, then add in your chicken strips, not crowding the pan (2/3 at a time). Keep turning the chicken and cook until golden brown in colour. Transfer to a plate with kitchen paper on it to soak up any excess oil. Keep going until all your chicken is cooked. Add the shallots into the pan and fry off, taking out as they become crispy. Garnish your chicken with the shallots; serve with plain thai rice, and sweet chilli sauce.