SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - This is one dish that is delicious to eat but the ingredient that gives this dish its name — har cheong gai, or prawn paste chicken in Cantonese — and its savoury, seafood flavour, smells terrible in its raw form.
This prawn paste is not the glossy, black paste used in rojak sauce.
The har cheong used for marinating the chicken is a thick, gooey, grey paste.
Now, one secret to delectable har cheong gai is the marinade.
One pet peeve I have is biting into har cheong gai that is savoury and crispy on the outside but tasteless on the inside.
It is best to marinate the chicken overnight.
A word of caution: Don’t go overboard with the use of har cheong in your marinade because it is very salty.
Write to me if you want to know an additional secret ingredient and the brand of har cheong that gives me the best result.
1kg of chicken mid-joint wings
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Tbs of ginger juice
3 Tbs Chinese rice wine
2 Tbs prawn paste or har cheong
2 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp ground white pepper
4 Tbs potato starch
1 Tbs cornflour
2 Tbs water
400ml cooking oil for deep-frying
1. Rinse the chicken mid-joint wings and blot dry with paper towels. Place in a deep dish.
2. Add the garlic and ginger juice.
3. Add the Chinese rice wine, prawn paste, sesame oil, ground white pepper, potato starch, cornflour and water. Mix well.
4. Leave to marinate for at least four hours or preferably overnight. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes before frying.
5. Heat 400ml cooking oil or enough to submerge chicken wings in a wok or frying pan. Fry over medium heat. Lower the heat if the edges start to burn too quickly.
6. Fry chicken wings until golden brown. Drain on paper towels to blot up excess oil.
7. Serve immediately.
Serves 10 to 12.