Belacan Fried Chicken Tasty Malaysian Treat To Enjoy
Some say the best Malaysian flavor is found in Belacan Fried Chicken.
If you enjoy a Fried Chicken meal and want a local twist – the main ingredient must undoubtedly be the most pungent mainstay for umami flavor.
Belacan is to Malaysian cuisine is what tomatoes are to Italian cooking.
Closer to home, it would be what fish sauce is to Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
Belacan is no doubt pungent, but it adds layers of unique flavors, taste structure, and mouthfeel to local Malaysian food.
What Is Belacan?
Belacan (pronounced buh-LAH-chan) is one of the most important, and by far, the most pungent ingredients in Malaysian cookery.
Unlike the oily, garlicky shrimp paste used in Thai curries, belacan is a hardened block of shrimp paste, made from finely crushed tiny shrimp or krill, salted, dried, and fermented. For weeks.
The shrimp paste block is a fermented condiment commonly used in Southeast Asian and Southern Chinese cuisines.
Belacan is an essential ingredient in Malay and Peranakan cuisine.
It enhances the dishes, even though you can’t usually taste them outright.
Only a tiny amount (a teaspoonful or two) is used in the cooking.
What Does Belacan Smell Like Or Even Taste Like?
Belacan is never eaten uncooked.
It has a strong fishy taste on its own, but when it is mixed with other ingredients, Belacan brings a unique flavor to the dish as a whole.
The “wet” version of Belacan is sold in blocks available anywhere in Asian grocery stores.
To the uninitiated, it has a funky, stinky smell.
Some cooks will slice and toast it first before using it.
Belacan doesn’t smell as pungent after you cook it.
The cooking process turns this stinky ingredient into a savory, sweet, and complex umami flavor.
Is Belacan Good For You?
Belacan contains high levels of protein and calcium as whole shrimps are used in creating this condiment.
Where Can I Buy Belacan?
You can easily find them in supermarkets and grocery stores.
They are sold in jars or rectangular slabs (like cheese).
Belacan Powder is sold in jars.
The Best Fried Chicken In Malaysia – Belacan Fried Chicken
If you’re thinking of what to serve at the next gathering or potluck, treat your homies to an authentic Malaysian flavor in Belacan Fried Chicken.
Belacan Fried Chicken is one of the Malaysian national cuisines.
As an appetizer, a snack with drinks, it is readily available at pushcarts or hawker food centers.
Chicken marinated in fermented shrimp paste smells solid, but it tasted terrific when fried to crispy perfection.
The marinade gives a salty shrimp taste with a strongly scented aroma.
Crispy and juicy marinated Belacan Fried Chicken dipped in chili sauce.
Chicken marinated in fermented ground raw shrimp smells strong, but it tasted amazing!
Why Is Belacan Fried Chicken Better Than Other Types Of Fried Chicken?
Belacan is dried fermented shrimp paste, and to be honest, it is stinky.
But you know what? In the Malaysian dish, the Belacan is the star, and if you’ve never had Belacan, you need to try this version of Fried Chicken.
After trying this dish, you might not go back to the old bland flavors of ordinary Fried Chicken.
Belacan Fried Chicken
Crispy on the outside and juicy tender inside, Belacan Fried Chicken is the most flavourful Malaysian Fried Chicken dish.
Serve as part of the main dish or even as snacks and starters with drinks.
The aroma alone makes the Fried Chicken a mouth-watering and memorable dish a winner!
Street Stalls Belacan Fried Chicken Wings
The amazingly juicy and plump Belacan Fried Chicken Wings straight from the streets of Malaysia are addictive.
The pungent smell and taste of Belacan is something to reckon with for first-timers.
It is love at first bite.
If you’re willing to try Assam Laksa, Roti Canai, and Sambal Belacan, you should try this dish.
Fried Chicken is always a hit no matter which country you come from.
For visitors, seeing how simple the ingredients are, you will be tempted to modify the seasonings based on your tastebuds and ingredients.
Most of the time, I find the saltiness level needs some adjusting.
So here is a delicious recipe for Belacan Fried Chicken.
Recipe For Belacan Fried Chicken
You start with good Belacan.
You can slice the pieces of Belacan and broil/bake them.
Malaysians prefer to roast them right over a charcoal fire or dry roast them as we did in a wok/cast iron pan.
Note: You will need to do this outdoors (well ventilated) if you don’t want your kitchen reeking of shrimp smell. So, baking may be out of the question.
Once the Belacan is dry, you break it apart and pound it until powdery.
You can use a dry mill; however, a pestle and mortar work best and is easy to clean.
Any extras can be kept in a dry jar for other recipes that call for Belacan.
You can also find Belacan powder at most Asian grocery stores.
Pieces of Chicken are coated with shrimp paste marinade and deep-fried.
After frying Belacan Fried Chicken looks like just another batch of Fried Chicken.
But the crispy Fried Chicken is anything but ordinary.
The batter is not crispy the way the other one is.
You can see the chicken, and the crispiness is more on the chicken and its skin than an actual coating.
It’s still delicious though different.
Perfect as an appetizer or as an entree.
Come to think of it; there aren’t Fried Chickens that I don’t like.
The Secret Of Ultra Crispy Belacan Fried Chicken
It’s not a secret at all!
You get crispy skin by double frying your chicken.
The first fry is to cook the chicken at medium heat.
The result will not be crispy.
It’s only to make sure the chicken pieces are cooked through.
The second frying is where the crispy action is going on.
The temperature is raised, and the chicken pieces are fried quickly until perfectly brown and crispy.
The first time I saw this recipe, I was intrigued.
since I had all the ingredients the recipe called for (except coriander stem juice – who keeps enough coriander at home?)
I decided to give it a shot minus the coriander because I was sure this would be one tasty chicken dish if the recipe worked.
As with all my recipes containing Belacan, I started by dry toasting the Belacan on a wok, ensuring I didn’t burn it.
Once the Belacan has broken down into small pieces and no longer smells foul, it is ready.
I pounded that it in my pestle and mortar.
And I was right to follow my instinct.
The chicken was simply delicious.
Belacan Fried Chicken Recipe
6 small chicken drumsticks
1 tablespoon coriander stem juice
1 tablespoon Belacan
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 egg white
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon corn starch
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Rinse the chicken with water, pat dry with paper towels, and set aside.
Prepare the coriander juice by cutting off the bottom 5 cm of the stems of a bunch of coriander and pounding them in a mortar and pestle.
Squeeze the juice out with your hands.
I transferred the powdered Belacan into a big bowl whisk that with sugar, egg white, sesame oil, coriander juice, corn starch, and flour together until smooth.
You can add a little chili powder if you like a bit of heat.
Add the chicken, coat well, and cover the bowl with a piece of cling wrap; marinate for four to six hours in the fridge.
When ready, heat a pot of cooking oil or use a deep fryer.
Alternatively, you can roast the chicken in the oven beforehand to shorten the frying time if you don’t have time.
You can always deep-fry the raw chicken if you have the time, although getting it cooked through (without any hint of pink) is a little hard to guess the timing second.
Drop the chicken gently into the oil and deep-fry the meat until crisp and golden brown (the inside should cook thoroughly but remain juicy).
Transfer the Fried Chicken to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.
Serve the Fried chicken immediately with chili sauce.
*This recipe first appeared in Rasa Malaysia.
Chili sauce (optional):
3-4 dried red chili such as chile Guajillo (more if you use smaller dried chili)
1 medium tomato
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp Pinch of salt
Juice of 1 lime
Belacan Fried Chicken Conclusion
How can something that tastes so good smell so bad before toasting make a dish taste so good?
That’s the wonder of Belacan!
For the best, try making Belacan Chicken Wings!
If you’re lazy like me, head to Kimberly Street, Penang, for the best Belacan Fried Chicken.