Aromatic Fried Chicken

One of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten was in a Vietnamese restaurant. The chicken had been marinated in an exotic mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, chilli and sugar. It was then simply tossed in four and slowly fried. It was absolutely delicious and, with simple steamed rice as a accompaniment, made a memorable meal. A salad or vegetable dish would also complement it nicely.


  • 900 g (2 lb) chicken thighs with bone in
  • 3 tablespoons groundnut oil

For the Marinade

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 75 ml (3 fl oz) Thai fish sauce
  • 75 ml (3 fl oz) white Shaoxing rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 fresh red or green chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shoaxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • Plain flour, for dusting


Blot the chicken dry with kitchen paper.

In a blender, mix the salt, pepper, garlic, fish sauce, vinegar, chillies, sugar, lime juice, shallots, soy sauce and Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry. Rub this mixture evenly over the thighs and allow to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature. Drain off any excess marinade.

Dust the chicken with flour and shake off any excess. Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat to low. Add the chicken skin-side down and slowly brown over a moderately low heat for 10 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the wok, drain on kitchen paper, then transfer to a warm platter and serve at once.