This Thai-style is no exception. The key to perfecting this super-crisp bird is to remove the chicken from the refrigerator an hour before frying to get rid of the chill. You also want to dredge the chicken in rice flour twice so the skin gets extra crispy.
Next stop: fry that bird in some hot oil—not once, but twice!
To learn more, read "Tongue Thai-ed."
Hat Yai Fried Chicken
Recipe adapted from Langbaan, Portland, OR
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Prep Time: 50 minutes, plus brining and marinating time
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus brining and marinating time
For the Brine:
¾ cup salt
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 2½- to 3-pound chicken
For the Marinade:
20 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns, toasted
2 teaspoons coriander seed, coarsely ground
½ teaspoon cumin seed
2 tablespoons Thai Golden Mountain seasoning sauce (see note)
1 teaspoon of salt
1½ tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons rice flour
Canola oil, for frying
For the Dipping Sauce:
5 Thai red chiles
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 pieces cilantro (leaves, stems and root)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1. Make the brine: Bring the salt, sugar, peppercorns and 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot, stirring occasionally, until the salt and sugar dissolve, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely before adding 3 quarts of cold water. Add the chicken to the brine and place in the refrigerator overnight.
2. The next day, marinate the chicken: Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry; cut the bird into 8 pieces. In a mortar and pestle or in a food processor, combine the garlic, white peppercorns, coriander and cumin and pound or pulse until minced. Place the spice mixture in a large bowl with the Thai Golden Mountain seasoning sauce, salt and sugar. Add the chicken and toss in the marinade. Cover and refrigerator for 2 hours.
3. While the chicken is marinating, make the dipping sauce: Place the chiles, garlic and cilantro in a food processor and pulse until a paste forms. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, vinegar, salt and chile-garlic paste. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl until ready to serve.
4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator an hour before you're ready to fry it to take the chill off. To fry the chicken, pour enough canola oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot until it reaches a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°.
5. While the oil is heating, place the rice flour in a large bowl. Toss the chicken pieces in the rice flour until every piece is evenly coated. Allow the chicken to absorb the rice flour, about 10 minutes. Dredge the chicken pieces in the rice flour again. Fry the chicken in 3 batches until crisp and light golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and tranfer to a wire rack set inside a lined sheet tray. Bring the oil back up to 350°. Fry the chicken until golden brown and crisp and the meat has cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to the wire rack. Season with salt and serve with the dipping sauce.
Note: If you're looking for a substitute for the Thai Golden Mountain seasoning sauce, you can make your own by combining 2 tablespoons soy sauce with 2 tablespoons beef stock and ¼ teaspoon sugar.