To call the boyfriend a Thai fried chicken (gai tod/ไก่ทอด) connoisseur would be an understatement. You see, about 2 years into our relationship, he took a work assignment in Thailand for 8 months. Every day before he was going to bed (and I was just getting up for the day), we would talk on the phone. I’d ask him what wonderful Thai foods he had eaten that day and, at least a few times a week, his answer would be “fried chicken”.
So you can understand why I was a little hesitant to try to make Thai fried chicken, knowing that it would be hard to come close to what he ate in Thailand almost every day. But with enough insistence (and a good sale on chicken wings at the store), I caved. I started with a wonderful recipe from SheSimmers.com and tweaked it ever so slightly, one painstakingly slow wing at a time, until the boyfriend declared it “good enough”. Given his expertise in this area, I’m not sure I can do much better than that :) Try it and let me know what you think!
Thai Fried Chicken | Gai Tod | ไก่ทอด
Makes 3-4 servings
2 pounds chicken pieces (I used wings and drumsticks)
1 head of garlic
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro root/stem, chopped finely
3 teaspoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons red chili powder
3/4 cup rice flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups water
Combine the garlic, coriander seeds, white pepper, cilantro root/stems, and fish sauce in a large mortar and pestle and grind until they become a paste. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, a small blender will work as well.
Marinate the chicken with this paste, the oyster sauce, and the red chili powder for at least 1 hour. I had some marinating for about 2 days in the refrigerator and it just got better with time.
When you're ready to fry, heat oil in a large pan or deep fryer to 350 degrees. Prepare the batter by mixing all ingredients until they form a somewhat watery batter. Dip the chicken in the batter and immediately fry in the hot oil until done. It's wonderful by itself and even better with Thai sticky rice and chili dipping sauce.