Written by @Lan (Photos by curiostraveller.com)
Thought of the day-“No single food will make or break good health. But the kinds of food you choose day in and day out have a major impact.”-Walter Willet
That moment when I realized, food actually consumes me!
That Deep-Fried Marinated Chicken was presented on a simple plate. The chicken was smashed resembling Ayam Penyet of Indonesia. The sides were 2 kinds of simplified stir-fry vegetables, eggplant and cabbage. The dish, accompanied by a small portion of Shrimp Paste Sambal, generous portion of rice and a bowl of soup. Period. Nothing else. Except for that spoon and fork. What else? Again, nothing except that it’s time to eat. Introducing the Smashed Deep-Fried Marinated Chicken. prepared in a very small stall that concentrated on Chicken Rice at Grace Point Sembulan, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
The dish has a Malay name. It’s named as Ayam Goreng Berempah and that dish alone cost MYR9.90 (USD2.20). The main star of this dish is definitely the Smashed Deep-Fried Marinated Chicken or Ayam Goreng Berempah. The Chicken that I had was marinated for few hours before being boiled and after that deep-fried.
All that it need after that was a good smash, to make it look thinner and that made the chicken easier to eat. No more ‘flying’ parts of chicken thigh while trying to divide it to smaller pieces.
It’s called Ayam Goreng Berempah as it’s being marinated for good hours before deep-frying. Ayam goreng is Fried Chicken. Berempah means it’s marinated. Rempah refers to spices. The marinating process takes at least few hours so that all the spices gets into the deepest part of the chicken.
Most will simply deep fry the chicken but to ensure that it’s being perfectly cooked, the chicken must first be boiled. A little bit of spices being spread to the whole chicken thigh after the boiling and in it goes to the frying pan.
Just before it’s put on the plate, the cook will smash the fried chicken thigh. All other elements as mentioned earlier are put on the plate together with the chicken. That’s it. A simple process as all other sides are being prepared in advance. All that the cook need to do is to assemble everything together.
The best way to eat it is by using the right hand. Use spoon or fork if you must but I simply wash my hand and start eating. Pull out a little bit of that chicken and dip it into the Sambal. Eat. That’s the first thing to do. Next, mix some rice with chicken. This way you will get to taste that heaven sensation of well-marinated deep fried chicken.
There will be some ouch! ouch! heard as the Fried Chicken is definitely hot. It’s fresh from the frying pan remember? That’s why I pulled out the meat little by little and mix it with anything on the plate. The soup, well, use your spoon and have it at a time convenient to you!.
The Fried Chicken was delicious. The skin, crispy but inside, the meat, moist and juicy. It’s tender in the inside. There’s an amazing taste of spices right to the bone. The taste of galangal, ginger, lemongrass, curry powder, garlic, red onion, turmeric, rempah 4 sekawan (pounded cardamom, star anise, cinnamon & clove) and Honey were all playing in my mouth and tongue. Amazing!
It tasted sweet and salty at the same time. Right into the deepest part of the fried chicken thigh. I can tell that it’s been marinated perfectly. Surprisingly, the boiling process did not take away all that ingredients used for marinating.
I somehow think that for the boiling part, the cook might have been using a specially prepared stock with all the said ingredients inside it. For the sides, both egg plant and cabbage were average. The sambal did the trick to make it tasted great, apply a little bit of that sambal onto the sides. It will then have that spicy, salty and sweet tastes.
The sambal was great. It’s good to go for all the elements on the plate. I f you fell like making one at home, here’s how. The ingredients are shrimp paste, garlic, red onions, tamarind juice, bird-eye chilies and blend it all together (in the blender machine or use that mortar.
Using a suitable pan and with 3-4 spoons of cooking oil, put the blended ingredients. Stir it while it’s cooking and add some sugar and salt for taste. Wait until you get the desired texture.
Overall, this dish wowed me. It’s delicious, especially the chicken and the sides were in reasonable portion that made me full. It’s presented on a simple plate. There’s no extra decoration (there’s no need for that). The sambal was indeed the co-star for the Deep Fried Chicken.
Most importantly, it’s cheap. For that price of MYR9.90 (USD2.20), I will sure to come back and have more in the near future. At times, dining is not about having meals in fancy restaurants. A simple but yum meal will do and occasionally there’s magic moments when you do realize that it’s food that actually consumes you and not you consuming it.
This amazing Smashed Deep-Fried Marinated Chicken or Ayam Goreng Berempah can be found at:
Chicken Rice Stall
Grace Point Food Court
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
To read reviews about Grace Point in TripAdvisor, click HERE