BFC - Burmese Fried Chicken (kyet thar kyaw)
I associate Burmese fried chicken with road trips, as when we’re travelling around Burma and make a pit stop in any village, it seems that women always come rushing to our rolled-down windows to sell us baskets of their freshly fried chicken (I call them The Chicken Ladies).
I’d say BFC is better than KFC and it definitely has far fewer ingredients. It’s commonly eaten with a plate of hot rice that’s been drizzled with some of the oil used for frying (si chet) and sprinkled with a little salt. BFC is also great eaten cold ... if you can manage to wait that long. Make it once and you’re addicted for life.
- 750g small chicken thighs or drumsticks or wings, skin on
- juice of 1/2 lime
- groundnut oil or other neutral-tasting oil, for frying
- Chilli Sauce (below), to serve
For the dry rub
- 2 tablespoons self-raising flour
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon MSG or 1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable bouillon
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and squeeze over the lime juice. Use clean hands to lightly massage the lime juice into the chicken, pour away any excess and set to one side.
Thoroughly mix the dry rub ingredients in another large bowl and then coat the chicken pieces evenly with the mix. Leave to marinate for 2 hours.
Heat a 8cm depth of oil in a wok or large frying pan to 175°C (or use a deep-fat fryer). Gently lower 2-3 chicken pieces, skin-side down, into the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. The oil should sizzle and bubble gently around each piece of chicken. Fry for 6-8 minutes, or until crispy and golden on one side, flip and continue to fry until the other side is just as golden.
Drain one piece of chicken and poke with a skewer to check that the juices run clear - if so, drain all the crispy chicken on kitchen paper. Continue to fry the remaining chicken pieces in batches.
Eat immediately with chilli sauce (below).
Chilli Sauce (nga yoke chin)
Who doesn't love chilli sauce? Unlike Thai chilli sauce, ours isn't particularly sweet - it's more of a salty, savoury affair thanks to the presence of fish sauce. To keep it vegetarian, you can substitute liquid aminos, or vegetarian fish sauce made from seaweed.
- 3 tablespoons caster sugar
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
- juice of 4 limes
- 4 finger chillies, sliced into rings
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
Mix all the ingredients in a small jug or bowl and set to one side for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen by MiMi Aye, Copyright © 2019. Published by Bloomsbury Publishing.
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