By Penang Boy
Thank you Mr. Alton Brown.
I sometimes cook and one thing I know, I suck at frying. I know, I know. Frying is greasy and the food is so bad for you. Why would you want to learn how to fry? Hey! Frying is a work of art. It is as honorable a method to cook as pan frying, roasting and even boiling (which is kinda of a no-brainer.)
Thanks to an episode about tempura on Good Eats which I happened to pay attention to, I have finally, for once in my life, been able to grasp the concept of frying! Woo hoo! I am elated beyond imagination! I am so excited! Now I just want to fry everything!
I have this recipe of my favorite dish from Penang that I always want perfected. It’s one of those foods that you can only find in the streets. They are greasy, oily Fried Belachan Chicken (Fried Shrimp Paste Chicken). I don’t know if the origin is from Penang but there are sure a lot of them in Penang street hawkers. It is absolutely delish and it’s one of my all time favorites (next to Fried Oyster. If you don’t know what is that, stay tune for more Penang food blog entries). I whipped up the recipe myself (Yes, pretty creative) but I have never been able to actually perfect it. It’s so frustrating. I’m pretty sure you all have experienced this. You got the recipe right but your technique is not there. I finally got it! This is actually my fifth official try and I GOT IT!! HAHAHA! SO HAPPY! I AM SO HAPPY! I AM SO HAPPY! THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!
And the result…. Crispy Fried Belachan Chicken! The picture only contains like 10 pieces of the chicken left. I bought 6 chicken thighs. My sister, E, and American Girl kept on eating the chicken as it got out the fryer. Gosh. I was so happy I do not know how to express it in words! Just ask American Girl how happy I was. I just can’t stop being happy.
Well, just for your info, here’s what I learnt. For those who are into cooking, the few tips I learnt are: the fryer has to be perfectly at a constant temperature of 375F. It is also advisable to use alcohol(vodka) to mix the batter as it will not form gluten, which absorbs the grease. The alcohol is actually volatile and will evaporate at a very low temperature so you don’t have to worry about your food being alcoholic. This technique is also useful when you bake. Less gluten, less ‘carb-y’ feeling, lighter taste, oh so goodness.
After my frying experiment, I went on to cook another dish. Nothing spectacular. Just plain old pasta! But… the mushrooms are actually cooked to perfection thanks to an advice from Julia Child. Ah…. cooking techniques are just marvelous! Here’s a picture of my humble pasta.
Ah! I Love Food! Happy Cooking and Eating!