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How to perfect the art of making battered-deep-fried chicken at home. Pradichaya at Chef-Me-Not shows you in her Thai cooking recipe, without holding back any secret ingredient or technique!

--Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit--

Chef-Me-Not, Cooking on Instinct - Best survival guide by a Thai soprano-wife-mother.

See how she survives day-to-day cooking while applying her Thainess through tips and techniques and fun Thai facts!

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The Magical Taste of "Deep-Fried" which brings upon "Siam Smile"

...To those who make this dish and to those who are fortunate enough to enjoy it. And for the rest of us who have the fear of "(Deep) Frying".

If you already have perfected the art of deep-fried food, I sincerely congratulate you. I am one who has NOT reached this goal on a regular basis. This means I sometimes "get" it, but most often my deep-fried food becomes disastrous. If it's salvageable, though, I cover it up by turning it into a stir-fried, or fried rice-fried noodle type dish.

Today is a good day. I feel it in my gut. Because my beloved husband found me a deep-frying pan. No, let me get the story straight from the beginning. I always was on the lookout for cooking tongs. They are all out there, but I'd prefer one with a slightly longer handle, but not so long as the ones for barbeque. One day, we were out food shopping and Ralph's good eyes spotted a picture of tongs that is part of, along with other utensils, a set with a deep-frying pan. We examined the samples, and I found that the tong handle was the right length for my use. My only complaint was that I wanted just the tongs, not a pan or a draining spatula (and whatever else came in the set). My husband pointed out, though, that I could use a good deep-frying pan for my Thai deep-frying, from which I tend to shy away because I do not own the right pan. He was right. All the years of frustration from failed attempts at deep-frying, it was because I didn't own the proper pan and didn't see one good enough to purchase. I took a look at it and said to my dearest husband, "Alright, it's not too pricey and it seems deep enough. (Sigh)". As if he was afraid I would change my mind, as I often do at the end of a shopping session, Ralph put the boxed set in our cart, wheeled it to the food section and came back with a 4-pound pack of chicken drumsticks. "They look VERY good, honey. Would you like to make THESE tonight? Maybe fry them in batter or something?"

I played with flour, before as a young girl.

When I was young, there were those rare occasions when my parents had to take off to "super important" and "top secret" conferences with other top CEOs at the main office in Tampa, Florida, necessitating our being left at home in Bangkok with the nannies and maids. We would be driven to and from school by our driver. Our nannies would tend to our needs, and our meals were prepared by the head maid- who also became a cook out of necessity. Although I was young, being the oldest child somehow made me feel that, next to my parents, I had the authority, which I exercised often with the maids; or, rather, the maids- who were a lot older- allowed me to feel such authority. I'm not talking about being nasty, mean or spoiled, but more of being the person with the power to lead and manage. One of my most favorite things to do on weekends was to browse among the various ingredients in my mother's large kitchen so as to make new snack and dessert creations. I would get different flours out- without knowing what they were- add a little bit of sugar here and a little bit of salt there. And, without any understanding, I would go through my mother's exquisite imported Belgian chocolate that she had around for her baking. (My mother prided herself on her baking skill which she learned from a princess, whose duty was to be in charge of making desserts for the King and the Queen of Thailand. She later sent me to learn from the same princess, but I disappointed them both because I could not stick with following measured numbers. "This girl will arrive on her own.") With the help of the maids I'd cook my creations, either in the oven or on the stove-top. And the maids, the nannies, the driver and his wife ended up being my testers. I not only asked them to eat my inventions, but I also asked them to critique me. My sister, who was very young at the time, didn't get to give any input; but, I did appreciate that she gobbled everything down without any complaint.

Therefore, if the husband wants batter in his deep-fried chicken, I should be able to deliver without any problem, so I thought.

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battered-deep-fried-chicken, battered-fried-chicken, deep-fried-chicken, cooking-recipe, Thai-recipe

Experimenting with Batter

I now am a proud owner of cooking tongs and a deep-fry pan. I have 4 pounds of chicken drumsticks and also a pound of jumbo size Thai shrimp that I picked up at a local farmer's market. I have spices. I am eagar to experiment mixing my own flour for batter from rice and tapioca flours because, from early on, I found that all purpose flour, cake flour, or any wheat flour gives me a skin reaction and pretty bad acid reflux, altogether.

Here goes, I bare it all without holding back any secret ingredient or technique! A little reminder that the recipe I am about to write comes from trial-and-error learning, and is for you to take and adjust to make it please and suits your liking!

Battered Deep-Fried Chicken (and Shrimps) - The Recipe

1 - 2 bulbs of garlic - Clean the skin and pound in stone mortar with pestle. Discard the skin.

6 - 10 cilanto roots - Clean very well. Grind well with garlic.

2-3 teaspoons of black peppercorns. Grind all three until they are all blended well.

3 heaping tablespoons of turmeric powder - Add to the mixture.

6 - 10 cilantro stems and leaves - the same amount as the roots. Finely chop, then add to the mixture.

2 tablespoons of Oyster sauce - Add to the mixture.

1 spatula of Nampla - Add to the mixture.

Mix everything well together

4 pounds of chicken drumsticks - about 12 - Clean and pat dry with paper towels.

1 pound of jumbo shrimp - about 20 - Peel off shells and tails, clean and pat dry with paper towels.

If you use just chicken - 5 pounds of drumsticks - about 15-16

If you use just jumbo shrimps - 5 pounds - a lot of shrimp!

Battle the Batter

2 cups of rice flour

1 cup of tapioca flour

Please note that the ratio is 2:1

In a large mixing bowl, put in the drumsticks.

Pour in the mixture from the mortar. Mix very well with a clean hand and make sure that all the drumsticks are coated with the mixture. Add a third of the flour on the chicken and mix until the flours dissolve and blend with the meat. Add another third of the flour and repeat the process. Then, add the last of the flour and mix well again. See if the drumsticks have enough of the coating. They will be somewhat thick and rough looking. Definitely not as thick, liquidy, or smooth looking as your regular batter mixture.

Wash your hands really well. On high, heat the deep-frying pan on the stove-top. Add the cooking oil of your choice. I say this because my choice happens to be Extra Virgin Olive Oil and it's been this way since the year 2000. Whichever choice you make, please make sure the amount of oil that you put in is about 5/8 of the depth of the frying pan. Wait until the oil is heated.

If you have shrimp on the list, please fry them first. It takes only a few minutes for the shrimp to turn golden brown. Prepare a large dish or platter with a few layers of paper towels and set the oil drainer. Rest the fried shrimp until the oil has stopped dripping and they look dry. When dry, put them on a separate serving platter.

Lay each drumstick in the pan. This is when I get to use my new tongs!!! With the 12-inch pan, I am able to fry 6 drumsticks at a time. It takes about 15 minutes to cook each side. At any time if you feel that the drumsticks turn brown, or even dark brown, long before the 15 minutes are up, just turn the heat down a notch. I do not like to cover the food while it's being fried. If you are afraid of hot oil splashing at you, try adding a teaspoon of margerine or butter to calm down the splashing. After fifteen minutes, flip to the other side and fry for another fifteen minutes. If you haven't turned down the heat, this is a good time to do so.

Take them out, the smaller ones first, and rest them on the oil drainer spatula. Move them to a different platter once they stop dripping. Fry your next batch of chicken. You shouldn't need to change oil for frying the suggested quantity. But, if you notice that the heated oil has turned dark, please change it.

When I made these battered-deep-fried drumsticks and shrimp I served them with laabnua - the minced beef salad, along with kaoniew - steamed sticky rice. The aroma of turmeric and blended GPC - garlic/pepper/cilantro roots- makes it so mouth-watering. Instead of using a mix of the traditional thick-liquidy batter, this dry-mix of flours has a chance to get right onto the marinated drumsticks which enhances and brings the most delicious flavor into the tender and juicy meat in every bite.

Enjoy! And, please let me know how your yummy battered deep fried chicken turns out!!!

Happy Chef-Me-Not!!!Day.

Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit
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