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Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Southern Thai–Style Fried Chicken

Southern Thai–Style Fried Chicken

40 minutes plus marinating

Southern Thai–Style Fried Chicken

Free

Gai tod hat yai, or fried chicken from the southern region of Thailand, inspired this recipe, but we made it quicker by using boneless, skinless thighs cut into strips instead of the typical bone-in, skin-on parts. The chicken is customarily sprinkled with crisp fried shallots after cooking, but we opted out of this garnish, as the spices themselves provide plenty of bold flavor. If you like, you can purchase fried shallots in most Asian grocery stores; scatter them over the chicken just before serving. If you're not up for making our extra-easy version of Thai sweet chili sauce (nam jim gai), serve with store-bought sweet chili sauce, or simply offer lime wedges for squeezing.

3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons ground white pepper, divided
1 large egg white
¼ cup fish sauce
1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 serrano chilies, stemmed and finely chopped
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, each cut crosswise into 3 strips
2 cups cornstarch
Kosher salt
2 quarts peanut oil, plus more if needed
Lime wedges, to serve
Sweet chili sauce, to serve (see note; optional)
Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons ground cumin

  • 3

    tablespoons ground coriander

  • 3

    tablespoons ground white pepper, divided

  • 1

    large egg white

  • ¼
  • 1

    bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped

  • 2

    serrano chilies, stemmed and finely chopped

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, each cut crosswise into 3 strips

  • 2

    cups cornstarch

  • Kosher salt

  • 2

    quarts peanut oil, plus more if needed

  • Lime wedges, to serve

  • Sweet chili sauce, to serve (see note; optional)

Directions
  1. 01
    In a 10-inch skillet over medium, toast the cumin and coriander until fragrant and just beginning to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of white pepper; set aside.
  2. 02
    In a large bowl, whisk together the egg white, fish sauce and ¼ cup water. Stir in the cilantro, chilies and 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture. Add the chicken and stir to thoroughly coat, then cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. 03
    Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, the remaining 2 tablespoons white pepper and 2 teaspoons salt.
  4. 04
    Drain the chicken in a colander. Scraping off excess marinade, add ⅓ of the chicken to the cornstarch mixture and toss to coat completely, then firmly press the pieces into the cornstarch. Transfer the pieces to the prepared rack in a single layer, shaking to remove excess coating. Repeat with the remaining chicken and cornstarch mixture, a third at a time.
  5. 05
    Set another wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil to 350°F (the oil should be at least 2 inches deep; add more if needed). Add ⅓ of the chicken pieces and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer the chicken to the second rack and season on all sides with about ⅓ of the reserved spice mixture. Allow the oil to return to 350°F, then repeat with the remaining chicken and spice mixture, a third at a time. Serve with lime wedges and sweet chili sauce (if using).
Tip: Don't marinate the chicken for longer than an hour or it will be too salty. Don't crowd the pot when frying. Cook only one-third of the chicken at a time so the temperature of the oil won't drop drastically, which leads to greasiness.
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Southern Thai–Style Fried Chicken

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

40 minutes

plus marinating

Tip

Don't marinate the chicken for longer than an hour or it will be too salty. Don't crowd the pot when frying. Cook only one-third of the chicken at a time so the temperature of the oil won't drop drastically, which leads to greasiness.

Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons ground cumin

  • 3

    tablespoons ground coriander

  • 3

    tablespoons ground white pepper, divided

  • 1

    large egg white

  • ¼
  • 1

    bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped

  • 2

    serrano chilies, stemmed and finely chopped

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, each cut crosswise into 3 strips

  • 2

    cups cornstarch

  • Kosher salt

  • 2

    quarts peanut oil, plus more if needed

  • Lime wedges, to serve

  • Sweet chili sauce, to serve (see note; optional)

Step 1 of 5

Toast Spices

3
tablespoons ground cumin
3
tablespoons ground coriander
1
tablespoon ground white pepper

In a 10-inch skillet over medium, toast the cumin and coriander until fragrant and just beginning to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of white pepper; set aside.

Step 2 of 5

Marinate Chicken

1
large egg white
¼
cup fish sauce
1
bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2
pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, each cut crosswise into 3 strips

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg white, fish sauce and ¼ cup water. Stir in the cilantro, chilies and 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture. Add the chicken and stir to thoroughly coat, then cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

Step 3 of 5

Create Cornstarch Mixture

2
cups cornstarch
2
tablespoons ground white pepper
2
teaspoons kosher salt

Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, the remaining 2 tablespoons white pepper and 2 teaspoons salt.

Step 4 of 5

Coat Chicken

Drain the chicken in a colander. Scraping off excess marinade, add ⅓ of the chicken to the cornstarch mixture and toss to coat completely, then firmly press the pieces into the cornstarch.


Transfer the pieces to the prepared rack in a single layer, shaking to remove excess coating. Repeat with the remaining chicken and cornstarch mixture, a third at a time.

Step 5 of 5

Fry Chicken and Serve

2
quarts peanut oil, plus more if needed
Lime wedges, to serve
Sweet chili sauce, to serve

Set another wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil to 350°F (the oil should be at least 2 inches deep; add more if needed).


Add ⅓ of the chicken pieces and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer the chicken to the second rack and season on all sides with about ⅓ of the reserved spice mixture.


Allow the oil to return to 350°F, then repeat with the remaining chicken and spice mixture, a third at a time. Serve with lime wedges and sweet chili sauce (if using).

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Southern Thai–Style Fried Chicken

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