I would gladly sacrifice my calories for a hearty plate of Ayam Penyet. Originated from East Java, Indonesia, Ayam Penyet aka Smashed Fried Chicken is one umami bomb in my mouth, if done right.
A satisfying plate of Smashed Chicken Rice should consist of a juicy piece of fried chicken leg that is flavorful and moist, yet has that finger-licking crispy skin. There should also be a generous topping of crunchy batter bits. Did I mention it is not supposed to be too oily as well? The rest of the supporting casts are fried tempeh, tofu and of course, that tongue-numbing sambal chili.
The not-so-secret “secret” for achieving that moist and tender flesh is the twice cooked method. Firstly, the chicken is cooked in a savory broth which consists of different spices for 20 mins. They are then marinated in the same broth overnight for maximum flavor. Before to serve, simply deep fry for 6 minutes in hot oil to achieve that crispy perfection and lastly, smash with a hammer or pestle loosen the meat.
Couple of days ago, I’ve made my own version of sambal chili that erred towards the sweet and spicy side, perfect for us who are intolerant to too spicy foods.
4 x Chicken legs (I’m using Kampung / organic chicken)
3 stalks lemongrass
6 cm ginger
4 cm galangal (blue ginger)
3 bay leaves (optional)
1 tbsp tumeric powder
2 tsp white ground pepper
1 tbsp salt (adjust more if needed)
1 pc firm tofu (tau kua) – cut into 8 pieces
2 pcs tempeh (fermented soy cake) – cut into 8 pieces (optional)
3 cups vegetable oil (I’m using soya bean oil)
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 cup reserved chicken broth
5 tbsp corn flour
3 tbsp rice flour
½ tsp baking powder
Sambal chili – click here.
Prepare spice mix but toasting them in a dry pan over low heat for 2 – 3 mins until fragrant.
Place into a food processor or blender and pulse for 30 seconds.
Add in shallot, garlic, ginger, galangal and blend until a chunky paste is formed. You do not need to blend it too finely.
Fill half of a large pot with water and bring to boil.
Add in spice paste, turmeric powder, lemongrass, bay leaves and salt.
Stir and simmer for 10 mins. Give it a taste and adjust with more salt if needed. The broth should taste briny.
Carefully add in chicken legs and bring to boil.
Cover and simmer for 20 – 25 mins.
Allow to cool for 15 mins before transferring the chicken into a large heat proof container and cover with the broth.
Place cooled chicken into the fridge and marinate overnight for maximum flavor.
30 mins before cooking, take out the chicken to bring to room temperature.
Add one ladle of reserved chicken broth to the batter and mix well.
Coat the tofu pieces in the batter.
Heat 3 cups of oil in a heavy bottomed pan or pot until hot (150C/300F).
Alternatively, you could insert a wooden chopstick in the hot oil and if it bubbles around the chopstick, the oil is ready.
Carefully add the tofu and fry until crispy.
Drain on paper towel.
Repeat with the tempeh if using.
Next, add the chicken and fry over high heat for about 6 mins, until the skin is crispy and golden brown.
Drain on paper towel.
Drizzle the remaining batter into the hot oil and fry until crispy and golden brown.
Place the chicken in a ziploc bag and use a hammer or pestle to smash and loosen the flesh. Alternatively, you could press the down firmly with a large cleaver.
Serve warm with rice, fried tofu, cucumber slices and sambal chili. Sprinkle crispy batter on top.