I’ve recently been put on the challenge of making dinner for my entire family (9) during the weekend. One of it I made chicken roulade with ratatouille, and the recent weeks, I wanted to make something chinese so it was the Hainanese Chicken Chop. Chicken chops are such comfort “western” food here in Malaysia, although not necessarily from China at all. It is often a slab of deboned chicken thigh or flattened breast, grilled or crumbed and fried with a serving of brown gravy, which presumably made from a powder premix or concoction of other sauces.
The place famed of its early origin of Hainanese chicken chop would be in a old timer kopitiam Yut Kee. The Hainanese chicken chop would be served with a bread-crumbed, fried de-boned chicken thigh, dressed with thick brown sauce, mushed peas and sliced onions. Thickly sliced and pan-fried potatoes are served alongside. I mean, who doesn’t like a deep fried chicken chop? The sauce is mainly made of Worchestershire and tomato sauce, for its sweet and a spike of sourness taste.
I referred the recipe from Alan’s Hainanese Pork Chop Recipe, but using chicken instead. While deep-frying the chicken chops, I found that they brown very very fast, even before it is cooked inside. And when I turned down the heat, it was still the same (maybe a little better). My mom asked, is there sugar in the marinade ?? Errr yes ? So this is an important tip for you if you don’t cook as often. Marinade that contain sugar would lead to quicker caramelization when deep frying or barbecuing. Then I used the Philips Air Fryer to fry it at 180C for 15 minutes (give n take 2 mins), the chicken had a nicer colour. But really because the PAF can only take 1 chicken chop at a time, for me to fry up enough chicken for my whole family would take 120 minutes (in case you don’t know, thats 2 hours). So I went ahead with deep frying some but changed oil twice.
Geez, so much oil.
Anyway, the next time I make this, I would not use sugar in the marinade.
The condiments I used to serve alongside were steamed frozen peas, then tossed in butter and salt. I also lightly steamed some potatoes, cut them to wedges then deep fried and tossed in a little salt. To coat the chicken, it’s the first time I’m using cream crackers (Hup Seng brand) as a crumb. Cream crackers are slightly buttery and very aromatic so using them gives it a very crispy and tasty coating instead of just panko. It would be the reason why my chicken chops brown so fast, it could be sugar from the cream crackers. As I’m cooking 10 portions, I had to make sure all the chicken chops were coated in egg and cream cracker crumbs before I fill up the pan with frying oil. The one thing I learned about cooking for 10 people is …. mise en place is very important as you really don’t have time or space to cut any veg while cooking something else. Planning your workflow is also as important.
The other vital part of this dish is the sauce. I googled some recipes and see that mostly are made with tomato sauce with worchestershire sauce, and some water. Some would add in starch to thicken the sauce, but seeing that tomato sauce is gluey, one doesn’t need so much starch. Plus you don’t want gluggy sauce. My sauce was mainly made with tomato sauce, Lea & Pearins worchestershire sauce, HP A1 sauce, soy sauce, some sugar and salt and water and cooked with slices of onions and fresh tomatoes.
- 10 deboned, skinless chicken thigh
- 30-40 soda cream crackers
- 4 eggs
- 2 medium red onion, peeled and wedged
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 4 russet potatoes
- 3 tomato, cut to wedges
- 1 small packet frozen garden peas
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp potato starch
- 2 tbsp water
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- 1 tsp five-spice powder (五香粉)
- 4 tbsp of fermented soya beans with brining liquids (豆酱)
- 3 tbsp of sugar (I would not recommend adding this)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp potato starch or corn starch
- 4 tbsp water (to be mixed with starch)
- 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp A1 steak sauce (optional)
- 10 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp sugar (depending on taste)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp pepper
- 3 cups of water
- Clean chicken thigh, remove skin. Marinade chicken by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour into a large bowl containing the chickens. Rub chicken ensuring even coating on all sides. Cover with a cling wrap. Leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Put cream crackers in a ziplock or clear plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to crush it till it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Crack eggs into a tray and lightly mix with a fork or chopstick. Remove chicken from fridge. Coat chicken with egg, then onto the cream crackers. Gently press the crackers so it sticks onto the chicken. Lay them on another tray, ready for frying.
- Meanwhile, scrub potatoes to remove dirt. Steam till its partially cooked (about 10-15 minutes) Remove from steamer and leave to cool. Cut potato lengthwise to wedges (about 8 per potato, depending on the size). Set aside.
- Steam or boil frozen peas, then add in some butter and salt. Toss.
- Prepare the sauce. In a pan, add in 1 tbsp oil and onions. Saute for 2 minutes. Mix all the sauces in a bowl. Add it to the onions and bring it to a gentle simmer. Test and season. Dilute 2 tbsp potato starch in 2 tbsp water, stir into the sauce. Add in a couple pieces of tomato that has been cut to wedges. Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat. You may need to heat it up again prior to serving. Reserve the remaining tomato for serving fresh.
- In a wok, pour sufficient oil and let it heat up. To test, you can use a wooden chopstick and press onto the wok base, if there are bubbles at the side of the chopstick, it is ready. Fry potato wedges in batches. When done, sprinkle some salt on the potato wedges. Set them aside.
- Now fry chicken chop till golden. You may need to reduce the heat to medium. It depends on how big your wok is and how much oil you have inside. Alternatively if you have a Philips Air Fryer, put in it at 180 C for 15 minutes.
- Remove the chicken once cooked on some paper towels to drain any excess oil. Then, arrange on the plate with potato wedges, green peas, fresh tomato and a generous spoonful of the sauce.