Well, actually Har Cheong Gai is more of hubby's favourite. If I were to make a choice between Har Cheong Gai and Sweet & Sour Pork, the latter wins hands down =D
Ok, anyways, back to Har Cheong Gai, Dr Leslie Tay (ieatishootipost) also posted a recipe which according to him is the Cze Char version that he managed to put together after asking many chefs.
Using the same batter, I tried both deep-fried and air-fried methods to test the difference between the two. As far as possible, I hope to minimise deep-frying so if air-fried method could achieve a satisfactory texture and taste, I won't mind so much (and of course it depends very much on the hubby's preference).
For the air-fried version, the crust was more crunchy and heavy. Taste-wise the prawn paste was slightly subdued.
For the deep-fried version, the crust was crispy and light; and taste-wise the prawn paste came through more distinctly.
After hubby did the taste test, he was ok with both versions (unlike the sweet & sour pork where he felt that deep-fried version was better). I's also important to eat the chicken freshly fried because I tried one piece that was fried in the afternoon and naturally didn't taste as good anymore.
The preparation was fairly easy, just that I disliked the deep-frying part.
For the batter, I tried following the recipe as close as possible making very slight changes. Shrimp sauce is the key ingredient here; I bought my shrimp sauce from Hong Kong earlier this year. The recipe calls for potato starch but I ran out of it and substituted it with tapioca starch. Not sure if it would make a difference, would probably test it out next time.
For the marinate I was actually quite tempted to add some oyster sauce, but resisted because I was keen to stick to the recipe for a start.
Special mention, my new air-fryer grill pan came in useful. The batter didn't stick as much, unlike the original wire basket.
Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Gai)
- 10 pieces chicken wings (about 700g), separated into winglets and drumlets
- 2 tbsp shrimp sauce
- 2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 50g plain flour
- 50g tapioca starch
- 1 small egg
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 50-60ml water
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinate and coat the chicken wings evenly.
- Mix all the ingredients for the batter and stir till smooth paste and add to the marinated chicken.
- Mix well, store in container and marinate the chicken wings for 8 hours or up to 2 days in the fridge.
- Deep-fry version: Heat oil on medium heat and fry the wings till golden brown. Drain.
- Air-fry version: Place wings on grill pan, cook at 180 degree celsius for 15 mins, turning once in between.
- Best serve hot.