Ayam Goreng: Spiced Malaysian Fried Chicken; Recipe Inside
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Fried chicken is the ultimate game day comfort food that we all enjoy in various forms – crumb-coated, spiced or saucy. The classic fried chicken that we’ve all grown to love, is the quintessential American recipe where pieces of chicken are marinated in buttermilk and coated in flour, before being deep friend. Eventually, the Korean fried chicken, with a crisper, lighter crust and a sticky-sweet sauce became popular for its simplicity and textural contrast. As is with most other dishes spanning across cultures, the Asian-style fried chicken comes in an array of styles – Thai, Malaysian and Cantonese.

Ayam Goreng, or Malaysian and Indonesian-style fried chicken recipe, that changes in flavour variations depending on the region. A deliciously spicy variant of the usual fried chicken, the cuts of poultry are marinated in a rich curry paste flavoured with classic Asian elements like lemongrass, ginger, galangal, coconut milk and spices. Garnished with bits of crispy fried garlic, fresh red chillies and cilantro, the ayam goreng is typically enjoyed as one of the dishes in a family-style meal, where it is eaten with rice and vegetables.

The early origins of ayam goreng in Indonesian culture stem from the time when Nini Ronodikromo ran a makeshift station selling ayam goreng, which rose to popularity, leading her to open up a restaurant. When the establishment turned bankrupt in the 1960s, the staff and patrons took it upon themselves to carry forward the brilliance of the dish for generations to come, by reproducing it with their interpretations. Darker in colour than the usual fried chicken due to the curry paste marinade, the flavours which the chicken does not soak up, become a part of the crust while deep-frying, making it flavoursome from the inside-out. Here is how you can recreate the recipe at home, for a relaxed dinner to unwind with.



  • 500 grams chicken, thighs and drumsticks
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2-inch piece ginger
  • 1-inch piece galangal
  • 8-10 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ stalk lemongrass
  • 2-3 fresh red chillies
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, for deep-frying

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  • Combine the onion, garlic, chillies, lemongrass, whole spices, ginger, galangal and turmeric powder in a blender jar with some water and grind to a smooth paste.
  • Season the chicken generously with salt and add the paste to the chicken along with the coconut milk.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight and allow it to come to room temperature while you heat up the oil.
  • Sprinkle the rice flour over the chicken, after you wipe off the excess marinade and place a couple of pieces at a time, gently in the hot oil.
  • Cook on a medium heat for 7-8 minutes, until the chicken turns a deep shade of golden-brown. Remove from the oil and place on absorbent paper towels before garnishing with chopped fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime juice.