Deep-Fried Street-Stall Chicken

This is great street fare, especially when eaten with a tart dipping sauce, but you don’t have to go to Burma to enjoy it. Deep-frying chicken is easy at home when the chicken is cut into small pieces.

You will have to fry the chicken in batches unless you have a large deep-fryer. I usually deep-fry in my large wok, but you can also use a wide pot.

Serve as an appetizer with one or more of the sauces suggested below, or as a main with rice, a green salad, and a vegetable curry.


  • One 3-pound chicken, or 2 to 2½ pounds breasts, legs, and wings, chopped into small pieces (see A Note on Chopped Chicken)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying


Trim off any loose skin and any excess fat from the chicken. Rinse it, pat dry, and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle on the salt and turmeric and rub them into the chicken, then pour on the fish sauce and turn and stir to ensure all the chicken is coated with flavor. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

When ready to proceed, put several paper-towel-lined plates by your stovetop. Have a spider or slotted spoon and a pair of tongs handy. Pour 2 to 3 inches of oil into a large stable wok, deep cast-iron skillet, or wide heavy pot and heat to 350°F. Check the temperature of the oil with a thermometer or by holding a wooden chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon upright in the oil, and touching the bottom of the pan. If the oil bubbles up along the wood, it is at temperature.

Slide 2 pieces of chicken into the hot oil, taking care not to splash yourself with oil, then another couple, and then, after a pause (to let the oil heat back up), another one or two; the chicken pieces should be in one layer. Move the chicken pieces around and turn them over occasionally. They will gradually change color, turning a pale gold and then a deeper red-brown. Cook until they are a rich red-brown, then lift them out, pausing to let excess oil drip off, and place them on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining chicken.