Hat Yai Fried Chicken ไก่ทอดหาดใหญ่ (gai tod hat yai)
This recipe originated from the Southern Thai town of Hat Yai where I was born and raised. It’s a unique style of fried chicken, served with fried shallots and sticky rice, and it’s honestly the best fried chicken in my opinion! I love making them using chicken wings (more skin to meat ratio!), but you can use the same marinade and recipe for chicken thighs/breasts as well, just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Lay the sliced shallots out on a plate lined with paper towel. Sprinkle salt over the shallot, you can be quite generous as you want to make sure all pieces are salted. Let the shallots sit, uncovered while you prepare the chicken.
To make the marinade: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, cilantro roots, and peppercorns into a fine paste.
Transfer the mixture into a zip-top bag (or whatever container you’re using to marinade the chicken) and add the salt, sugar, soy sauce,water, and mix well.
Add the chicken and let marinade for 2 hours, flipping the bag half way through. If you’re marinading the chicken in a bowl, stir the chicken a couple of times in between.
Before frying the shallots, take a piece of paper towel and press it onto the shallots to absorb all the water the shallots have given off.
Add about 1″ of oil to a pot, and heat it over medium heat. Add the all the shallots into the oil (you don’t need to wait to the oil to get hot) and keep heating until the shallots are bubbling gently all over. Reduce heat to LOW, then keep frying, stirring constantly, until they turn golden brown.
Once the shallots are golden brown AND the bubbling has subsided, remove from oil with a slotted skimmer and drain on paper towel. (When the bubbles have subsided, it means the shallots are crispy). Note: If the shallots are browned before the bubbling slows down, your heat is too high.
Fry the chicken:In the same pot you used to fry the shallots, add more oil so you have about 2″ of oil. Heat until the oil reaches 350°F.
While you wait for the oil to heat, take the chicken out of the bag and put them into a large mixing bowl. Add the rice flour, 1/4 cup at a time, and stir until you have a thin batter coating the chicken. Fry the chicken for 4-6 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve the fried chicken with sticky rice and sprinkle fried shallots over both the chicken and the rice. Enjoy!