Sunday, January 2, 2011

Deep-Fried Mini Chickens

My regular readers may have noticed a slight difference in tone in my recent posts, as though I have only a passing concern for this blog - which I do. It's not that I am already tired of posting recipes but rather that I have been dealing with the aftermath of news Seth and I received during my trip to the States in December: we are leaving Kuwait in February. Oof. So my days have been filled with culling our clothes, packing up foot lockers, working to get Umberto (our cat) his export papers - plus it took me until yesterday to my body's clock on the proper time zone. When I continued to wake-up at 3am day after day I thought it would give me extra time to get my tasks (writing, cooking, packing) done, but really it just left me in a semi-conscious daze all day. Woe is me, I know.

Luckily I can still drool over my new cookbooks - and occasionally cook something from them, even if my pictures are currently lacking. How could I resist something as simple as deep-fried little birds? The recipe calls for quails, which I knew I could find if I went to a live bird market, but laziness struck me so I substituted mini chickens (which about a pound each) cut in half. The marinade is quick and delicious, with a light hint of star anise, and the chickens came out of the fryer crisp and juicy in all the right places. I used brown sugar instead of palm but all other ingredients were easy enough to find - and how often can I say that in this blog?

Want to make your own dipping sauces? Try here and here.

Deep-Fried Mini Chickens
The Food of Thailand

5 white peppercorns
5 coriander seeds
1/4tsp cumin seeds
1 star anise
2 garlic cloves
2tbsp soy sauce
1/2tsp brown sugar
2 mini chickens cut in half (or 4 quails, whole)
oil, for deep-frying
dipping sauces such as sweet chili sauce or roasted chili sauce

1. Using a pestle and mortar, pound together the peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, star anise and a pinch of salt. Add the garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar to a paste.

2. Rub the paste all over the chicken halves, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

3. Heat the oil in a wok or other deep pan to 350F (or until a piece of bread dropped into it sizzles and turns brown. Pat the chickens dry with paper towels. Add the chickens to the oil and deep-fry for about 10 minutes, turning them so they cook on all sides. (I had to do this in two batches in order not to over-crowd my pan.) If using whole quails, be sure the oil gets inside the birds, as well.

4. Drain well and sprinkle with a little more salt. Serve with desires dipping sauces and enjoy.

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