How to make Malay style Singapore Fried Chicken Wings, or Ayam Goreng.
There is one single food in every culture that everyone can appreciate… Fried Chicken! Ayam Goreng is the Malay version of fried chicken, and everyone has their own interpretation of it.
The version I grew up with (aka my Mom’s version) is actually extremely simple. Chicken marinated with turmeric powder and salt. Nothing else. Simple, effective, gets the job done.
However, if I have a bit of extra time – or if I’m already using a bunch of these ingredients for another dish – I would much rather make this Ayam Goreng. Plot twist: I now only make this Ayam Goreng.
Key Ingredients for Ayam Goreng
Malay-style Ayam Goreng at its simplest, only requires turmeric and salt! However these additional ingredients elevates the Ayam Goreng.
Cumin + Fennel + Coriander Seeds: These three spices give it that distinct flavour that’s familiar to the Malay cuisine. You can toast these first before adding, but I rarely do – I want a quick meal! If you can only choose one of these three spices, then go for Cumin.
Lemongrass: Lemongrass gives it that extra layer of aroma and citrusy flavour. While I would usually recommend finely slicing the lemongrass stalk, this time round the chicken would do better with larger pieces. The fibres would fry well and with less chances of burning while frying.
That said, I always freestyle my Ayam Goreng marinade, based on what I have at the time. This is the most comprehensive, but in reality one or two ingredients would be missing. The Ayam Goreng still impresses each time!
Cornflour for Crispy Ayam Goreng
When my mom cooks this, she would always scream at the kids to quickly eat the fried chicken. Ayam Goreng is best eaten fresh… when left at room temperature, it just turns soggy and not satisfying to eat at all.
I solved this problem with a quick sprinkling of cornflour (also known as corn starch)! The cornflour crisps up the gorgeous spice batter on the chicken, meaning the chicken stays crunchy even when it has turned cold. You can also use rice flour for this, in fact I interchange between the two flours all the time.
Plain flour will get you crispy skin too, but it needs to be consumed immediately since plain flour tends to turn soggy.
The flour will also help to soak up any excess moisture that your chicken might have produced, so the spiced batter sticks to the chicken.
How to Fry Ayam Goreng?
Keep a medium heat going, and no need to readjust the heat. If using an electric or induction cooker, keep the temperature at 160 deg C.
I fry my fried chicken for 12 to 15 minutes, or until my Ayam Goreng turns a gorgeous dark brown colour. If you’re Malay, you know we love the darker shade versus a light golden chicken!
Cook in batches as well. I know it’s tempting to cook everything at one go, but cooking all the chicken at one go drops the oil temperature down drastically. This results in soggy chicken, and worse, uneven cooking. The good thing about fried chicken is that you can simply leave it to let it cook. There’s no active cooking required.
Cooking times will vary depending on chicken size, cooking pot, and the heat. If you have a meat thermometer, ensure the thickest part of the chicken hits 74°C.
When you’re frying the Ayam Goreng, it might sink to the bottom; this is normal. You want to use tongs to move the chicken so it floats back up. Some of the batter would also slide off the chicken and sink to the bottom. I like to very *carefully* use a spatula to gently scrape the base of my pot so the batter does not stick to the bottom. I stress on being careful because you don’t want the oil to splash.
There will still be some batter that has already stuck itself to the bottom, you don’t have to work hard to scrape everything off. I generally do not really concern myself with this though; it’s part and parcel of frying Ayam Goreng.
If you find some extra batter at the bottom of your marinade bowl, make batter crispies with it! These are fun, crunchy bits that are bursting with flavour.
After you’re done frying all of the chicken, spoon some batter into the oil, and quickly swirl the batter with your spoon or spatula.
This creates a bunch of crispies, instead of one glob of batter. Take it out once it turns golden brown and sprinkle over the chicken!
Make-Ahead and Freeze
Here’s a pro tip: Whenever I make this, I make a huge batch of it! I freeze what I am not using that day. The next time I want to fry it, I take it out of the freezer and let defrost the next day. It might have more liquid when you defrost the frozen chicken – this is normal. Drain off the excess liquid. You can also sprinkle on extra corn flour or rice flour.
Tips for Good Fried Chicken:
- Marinate overnight for best flavour absorption.
- If marinating the chicken overnight in the fridge, take the chicken out of the fridge first and wait about 20 to 30 minutes so chicken can warm up to room temperature for even frying. This allows more even cooking.
- Maintain a steady heat throughout. There is no need to adjust the heat. Allow the chicken to cook fully on the medium heat.
More recipes like this:
If you enjoy this Ayam Goreng, you will love these too:
Crispy Ayam Goreng | Malay Crispy Fried ChickenCourse: Recipes
800g Chicken Parts
1/4 cup Rice Flour or Corn Flour
Canola Oil or any high smoke point cooking oil to deep fry chicken
- Blend together:
1 Red Onion or 3-4 Shallots
15g or 1 tbsp Ginger
15g or 1 tbsp Galangal
1 tbsp Turmeric Powder
2 stalks Lemongrass, inner white core
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Salt
50ml Water, or enough to blend
- Blend all of the ingredients together. Pulse the blender to get a rough paste rather than a fine paste. Alternatively, use a food processor or pestle and mortar to mash the ingredients to a paste.
- Rinse the chicken parts and pat as dry as possible.
- Pour blended paste over the chicken and sprinkle on corn flour. Mix thoroughly with hands so everything becomes an incorporated paste with the chicken.
- Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Overnight would be best.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a pot. Insert a wooden chopstick and if bubbles come off the chopstick, the oil is good for frying chicken. Alternatively add a bit of batter, and it should sizzle.
- Add battered chicken in and cook in batches. Do not overcrowd the pot of oil. Keep a medium heat and fry the chicken for 12 to 15 minutes, on until chicken is cooked through.
- Take off the heat and let rest for 5 minutes before serving!
- Batter crisps
- Option to cook batter crisps with the extra marinade. Spoon in the batter and swirl the batter to separate into crisps. Fry until golden brown and take out of the oil.