Thursday, 16 May 2013

Recipe - Prawn Paste Chicken Thigh (Har Cheong Kai)

This prawn paste (or shrimp paste) chicken is a popular dish in Singapore. The star of this recipe is the shrimp paste which is used to flavour the chicken parts. Typically, the shrimp paste chicken is served deep fried.

The shrimp paste is made from silver shrimps. When raw, it is very pungent (smelly). It is also known commonly as belachan. If you like Singapore Rojak, you will definitely like this dish because the rojak uses the same prawn paste.
The shrimp paste does give a unique flavour when fried.

In this recipe, I use chicken thighs, bone in, skin on. It is convenient; there is no need to chop the chicken into parts. The thighs also make it easy to pan fry. Pan frying saves oil but it does take a little more time.
silver shrimp

Pan frying in low heat also allows the chicken thighs to be cooked on the inside, juicy and tender while the skin is crispy. When properly cooked, the meat will just fall off the bones.

I have tried both the Penang belachan and the Lee Kum kee shrimp paste. Lee Kum Kee shrimp paste has a stronger flavour.

Now we are ready to go.

Ingredients (serves 5)
5 chicken thighs (skin on, bone in)

1 tsp shredded ginger
LKK shrimp paste
1 tsp shredded garlic
2 tsp prawn paste
A dash of salt (less than a tsp)
A dash of pepper

Before Frying
1 egg beaten
3 tbs of corn flour (if you like crispy, use rice flour)


Step 1.
Prepare the chicken
Rinse the chicken thighs
Use a knife and prick or pierce some holes for better absorption of the marinade.

Step 2.
Mix the marinade well.
Penang prawn paste
Add the chicken thighs and mix well
Let the chicken sit for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge

Step 3.
Ready for frying.

Coat the chicken thighs with the beaten egg.
Then coat them with the flour

This is a shallow fry.
So you need about 3 tbs of oil.
Heat the oil till hot, then lower the heat.
Place the thighs one by one in the hot oil, skin side down.
Let them cook slowly over low heat.

It takes about 8 minutes for each side to turn brown.
Turn them over once the skin side turns brown.

Serve and enjoy

Watch this 3 minute video from Kitchen Tigress on how she cooks prawn paste chicken.
Not quite the same, but she is good.

Another nice video on cooking har cheong kai

This 5 minute shows how to cook the crispy boneless chicken thigh without the prawn paste.
I think this is just as delicious.

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