Spicy fried chicken: Aromatic, crispy and oh so good

Spicy fried chicken – all this needs is a plate of steaming rice.

Malaysians love our chicken, and we love them even more when deep-fried.

From battered to non-battered varieties found in global fast food chains, to local restaurants specialising only in fried chicken with rice and sauce on the side, Malaysians can be found patiently queueing to sink their teeth into some freshly cooked good ol’ fried chicken.

Here is a classic Malaysian favourite – spicy fried chicken or better known as Ayam Goreng Berempah.

This style of fried chicken has no batter, but is marinated in an aromatic mix of spices that will tease your senses and make your mouth water.

It’s so good and perfectly crispy that all you need is a plate of steaming rice on the side to complete the meal.


  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 12 portions
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 large red onions
  • 20g ginger
  • 4 sticks lemongrass
  • 15g galangal
  • 2 stalks curry leaves, discard stems
  • 2 tbsp chicken or meat curry powder
  • chicken stock granules
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • cooking oil, enough to fill a frying pan about 3cm deep


1. In a blender, add the garlic, red onions, ginger, lemongrass and galangal, and blend until smooth. If needed, add a little water to help with the blending process. Pour the mixture into a bowl.

2. Add curry leaves, curry powder, chicken stock granules, sugar, salt and black pepper into the blended mixture. Stir to mix well.

3. Add chicken to the mixture and coat the pieces evenly. Cover and store refrigerated for at least two hours or, preferably, overnight.

4. Heat oil in a frying pan until it is hot and ready for frying, about 180°C to 200°C.

5. Carefully add the marinated chicken, but do not crowd the pan. The chicken can be cooked in batches if your pan is not large enough.

6. Turn the chicken every 4 to 5 minutes, making sure all sides are evenly cooked and the outside is a dark golden brown. The internal temperature should be between 66°C to 73°C. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes for the chicken to cook through thoroughly, depending on the size and cut of the pieces.

7. Rest the deep-fried chicken on paper towels to remove excess oil before serving.

Beware of sputtering hot oil.

Extra tips

1. You can also use a ziplock bag when marinating the chicken pieces. It takes up less space in the fridge compared to a large bowl.

2. Don’t have a cooking thermometer? You can also throw a little bit of the marinade into the pan to gauge if the oil is hot enough for frying. Here’s how you do it:

  • If the oil starts bubbling around the marinade, it is perfect for frying.
  • If the oil remains still, it means it is not hot enough for the frying process.
  • If the oil is smoking, it is way too hot and the chicken pieces will burn instead.

3. Cover your arms with long sleeves or a cloth to protect them from the scorching, sputtering oil. Alternatively, use a really long spatula or tongs when turning the chicken pieces over.

4. To check if the chicken pieces are fully cooked without a cooking thermometer, choose the meatiest part and slice it. The meat should be white and firm, and the juices clear. Chicken cannot be served if it is undercooked, and still blood-red inside.

This recipe first appeared in butterkicap.com