03 September 2014

Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Gai)

Besides Sweet & Sour Pork, another of our favourite Cze Char dish is Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Gai). According to ieatishootipost July 2014 poll on Singapore's Top 10 Cze Char food, Har Cheong Gai turned out to be the most popular! My Sweet & Sour Pork came in fourth only :(

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
  1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinate and coat the chicken wings evenly.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the batter and stir till smooth paste and add to the marinated chicken.
  3. Mix well, store in container and marinate the chicken wings for 8 hours or up to 2 days in the fridge.
  4. Deep-fry version: Heat oil on medium heat and fry the wings till golden brown. Drain.
  5. Air-fry version: Place wings on grill pan, cook at 180 degree celsius for 15 mins, turning once in between.
  6. Best serve hot.


  1. halo,,your grill looks cute n handy,,
    can please let me know what brand n where
    to buy,,always envy all your home cooked
    food and bakes,,r u so grateful to share,,
    thanks n hope to hear from u,,

  2. Wow, the chicken looks good and I think it's less fats using the air fryer.

  3. Hi Marin,
    My air-fryer brand is Phillips, the first generation one, I think called Viva collection. The grill pan I bought it from a sales agent. Do you need the contact? I think Qoo10 is also selling.

  4. Hi Kimmy,
    Yes it's definitely less fat using air fryer. Texture wise still acceptable so I'll gladly use air-fryer instead of deep frying for this recipe.

  5. Thank You so much. My husband like Prawn Paste Chicken. We eat KFC Chicken at first food restaurant. But now I can cook Prawn Paste Chicken in my home easily by using best air fryer. I want to learn to cook another frying food. Have you anther recipe tips? please share.