Har Cheong Gai 虾酱鸡
I am frying up some chicken wings for a social later and what better food item to bring than Shrimp Paste Chicken Wings. Kids love it, everyone I know loves it. I also know my friends would love my Roasted Pork Belly, but maybe leave that for another time.
Har Cheong Gai is basically chicken wings marinated in shrimp paste which gives it the fragrant shrimp paste flavour. It’s become quite popular at most zi char places in fact and my family would often order it when we have our meals out.
So I decided to make this delicious shrimp paste chicken for our friends’ gathering. Shrimp paste chicken is also know as har cheong gai in Cantonese or 虾酱鸡 in Mandarin. I am doing a quick and dirty version of it and basically shorten the cooking time as I am usually quite busy as a working parent.
In my recipe, I only allowed it to marinate for 15 minutes before I would fry up the whole batch of mid joint chicken wings. Just to experiment and see if the flavour is just as good.
Thankfully what turned out eventually was a nicely battered chicken wing with a light hint of shrimp paste and not salty at all like most zi char places. It was deliciously fragrant and tasted really yummy. Best part is, it wasn’t that difficult to do either.
However, since there was deep frying involved, and I didn’t like the idea of wasting too much oil, I opted for a smaller cooking pot instead. The compromise was that I could only fry in smaller batches, which took up a lot more time. Plus it made the kitchen really oily after all that heavy frying, and my wife didn’t like that. So I guess this is the first and last time I am making Har Cheong Gai. LOL.
1 Kg Chicken Wings (mid joint wings only, about 27 pieces)
2 tbsp Shrimp Paste (I got mine from the Malay uncle stall at the wet market, but you may opt to use Lee Kum Kee Shrimp Sauce)
4 tbsp Hakka Rice Wine (you can substitute it with Hsiao Sing Hua Tiao Jiu)
2 tbsp Sesame Seed Oil
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 tbsp Castor Sugar
1 tsp White Pepper Powder
Making the Batter:
3/4 cup Plain Flour
3/4 cup Potato Starch
1 tsp Baking Soda
200 ml Water
1. In a large mixing bowl, prepare the marinate by pouring in the shrimp paste, rice wine, sesame seed oil, oyster sauce, white pepper and sugar. Mix well.
2. Add the mid joint chicken wings into the mixture and make sure all the wings are coated. Allow it to marinate for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile prepare the Batter mix in another mixing bowl. Add the plain flour, potato starch, baking soda, eggs, water and give it a good mix until a smooth consistency.
4. Dip the marinated chicken wings into the batter (discard the remainder marinate) and then slowly dip them into the pot of boiling hot oil for deep frying. Fry for about 4 minutes each or until the chicken wing joints browns and float on the surface of the oil bath.
5. Allow the chicken wings to cool on the rack before plating. You may serve it with lemon, vinegar and garlic chilli sauce.
Marinate the chicken wings for 15 minutes
Prepare the Batter mixture
Dip the chicken wings in the Batter before frying
Rest the fried chicken wings in the cooling rack