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Turmeric ‘Mamak Style’ Fried Chicken /Ayam Goreng Mamak

by Ping Coombes from ‘Malaysia’ (Seven Dials)

Photography: Laura Edwards

I first had this chicken on a holiday to Pangkor Island with Andrew. Now every time we make a trip to Pangkor we always go to the shop and take away that yummy golden fried chicken. Over the years I have tried to replicate it at home and this captures it pretty well.

This dish can also be baked in the oven at 180C for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the thighs.

Makes 4 pieces


4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on, excess fat and skin trimmed off (retaining a little time for testing the oil temperature)

300ml vegetable oil for deep frying

For the marinade

1 tbsp turmeric

¾ tsp chicken stock powder

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp caster sugar

½ tsp chilli powder (optional)

4 tbsp coconut milk


Place the thighs so they are sitting on the surface skin-side down then, using a small knife, stab the chicken flesh a few times to help the marinade penetrate the meat. Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and rub with the marinade ingredients then cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Let the chicken come back to room temperature before you fry it.

Heat the oil in a wok or a saucepan over

a medium heat. Drop a bit of the trimmed chicken skin in the oil and if it sizzles vigorously, the oil is ready.

Using a pair of tongs, gently lower the marinated chicken thighs into the oil skin-side down and fry for 5-6 minutes. Turn them over with tongs and fry for a further 5-8 minutes, depending on their size. Using a ladle, gently pour the oil over the skin continuously to ensure the skin is crispy.

Make sure they are cooked by lifting 1 out and cutting a slit in the thickest part of the thigh to check for pinkness. If it isn’t cooked through, put it back into the oil and fry until cooked.

Nigel served it on a bed of Udon noodles and Bok Choy, cooked with oyster and soy sauce, crispy shallots, ginger and garlic.

Chilli Dark and Stormy / Cili Dark Dan Stormy

It will leave a tingle on your lips, so alter the amount of chillies depending on your tolerance of heat.

Serves 2


50ml rum

1 bird’s eye chilli, roughly sliced (or Nigel says you can substitute with any red chilli)

1 lime cut into 4cm wedges

Fiery ginger beer

Ice cubes, to serve

Place 25ml of rum in 2 short tumblers, add 2 slices of chilli and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.

Squeeze 2 wedges of lime into each tumbler, leaving the wedges in the glass, then top up with ice and add ginger beer. Give it a good mix and serve very cold.

Iced Lemongrass Tea / Teh Serai Sejuk

It’s very refreshing on a hot day, especially when served alongside spicy food.

Serves 4 (fills 4 high-ball glasses)


1 litre water

1 tbsp gunpowder tea leaves (or Nigel says substitute with any tea, a bag of breakfast tea is fine)

4 lemongrass stalks, cut in half widthways and bashed

2½ tbsp caster sugar

Ice cubes, to serve

Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan then turn the heat down to low. Place the tea leaves and lemongrass pieces in the saucepan. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes – 1hour. Once it’s completely cool, drain through a fine-mesh sieve and pour into glasses with plenty of ice.

TIP: You can re-use the tea leaves and lemongrass stalks for another batch of tea. Leave to infuse a little longer (about 1 hour) to extract the flavour, as it will be less potent than the first batch.

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