Yasmin Newman's Fried Chicken With Banana Chilli Catsup Glaze

Indulge in Filipino fried chicken, coated in a sticky banana ketchup glaze

Serve this sticky chicken with kalamansi halves or lime wedges. Photo / Supplied

For us, fried chicken is the taste of happiness. It’s memories of afternoon merienda (snacks) with friends and family dinners.

It came into our consciousness in the early 20th century withthe American occupation, when two fried chicken houses also emerged.

Today, they characterise the two camps: crunchy Jollibee Chickenjoy or light Max’s Restaurant-style.

I chow into both, but when it comes to pulutan (beer food), a favourite food group in the Philippines, I can’t go past the crust and shattering crackle of the former.

As soon as it comes out of the oil, I plunge it in sweet and sticky banana catsup (ketchup) to glaze instead of serving it on the side, and douse it in kalamansi juice and fiery sili (chilli).

FRIED CHICKEN WITH BANANA CHILLI CATSUP GLAZE (PIRTONG MANOK) RECIPE
Serves 4-6

1 red onion, finely grated
6 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 kg boneless chicken thighs, halved, or mixed drumsticks, wings and thighs
½ cup plain flour
2/3 cup cornflour vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
5 kalamansi, halved, or 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve
1 long red chilli, thinly sliced, to serve (seeds optional)

Chilli Catsup Glaze
2/3 cup banana catsup* (ketchup)
150g caster sugar
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 long green chillies, thinly sliced

1. Combine the onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat well. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.

2. To make the chilli catsup glaze, place the ingredients and 1 tablespoon of water in a large bowl and stir well to combine.

3. Heat 1cm of vegetable oil in a large deep frying pan over medium heat. Place the flour and cornflour in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Working in three batches, remove the chicken from the bowl, leaving the onion mixture attached, and coat well in the flour mixture, making sure it gets into all the creases and crevices — the more the better as these will form the crispy crunchy bits. Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes each side, until golden and crispy (or 3-4 minutes each side for drumsticks and 1-2 minutes each side for wings). Drain on paper towel, then repeat with the remaining chicken.

4. While the chicken is still hot, add to the glaze and toss to coat well. Transfer to a serving platter and squeeze over some of the kalamansi halves or lime wedges. Scatter over the chilli and serve with the remaining kalamansi or lime on the side for squeezing over.

• Find catsup at select supermarkets

Recipe extracted from 'Under Coconut Skies' by Yasmin Newman, published by Smith Street Books, $55.

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