Crispy fried chicken is a universal favorite, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who dislikes it. The dish is so well-loved that almost every country has a version. South Korea coats theirs with various sauces, Taiwan pounds it until flat and gargantuan, and Indonesia makes one with turmeric, tamarind, and galangal. In the Philippines, it’s all about the crunchy skin and the flavor-packed fried chicken marinade.
While some professional chefs swear by 24-hour salt brines, most home cooks don’t have that much time to spare. The perfect shortcut? A quick, umami-rich marinade to soak your meat in for a couple of hours. This solution infuses flavor into the flesh and keeps every inch of the chicken juicy. Read on for the ultimate Pinoy-style fried chicken marination guide!
Anatomy of a Pinoy-Style Marinade
Filipino cuisine is as straightforward as it gets. Herbs and spices in recipes lean towards a more conservative approach. Instead of injecting flavor during the cooking process, Pinoys rely on a bevy of sawsawans and pickles at the dinner table. But despite this simplicity, there is always a balance of flavors, typically salty and sour and slightly sweet and spicy. The same goes for marinades. Most households use a four-ingredient solution with the following ingredients:
- Soy sauce – this all-around condiment gives proteins a savory, umami-rich boost.
- Calamansi – the acid helps tenderize even the leanest parts of meat.
- Garlic and pepper – these flavorings introduce a pleasant warmth and mild spice to the dish.
These make up what many call “toyomansi,” which works as both a dipping sauce and a meat marinade. Measurements vary from one cook to another, but the result should always cost under ₱50 for every kilo of chicken.
The Easiest Fried Chicken Marinade
What sets a Pinoy-style marinade apart is its versatility. To the basic toyomansi, you can add many other pantry staples to achieve the most flavorful concoction. For sweetness, you can mix in lime-flavored soda, muscovado sugar, or honey. For a comforting twist, you can pour in pineapple juice and banana ketchup. Chop a few chilies and toss them in for a spicier take. And for extra linamnam, use Knorr Liquid Seasoning or Knorr Chicken Cubes. With a marinade this flavorful, no one will look for a fried chicken sauce anymore.
Here’s an easy fried chicken recipe you can work with:
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup calamansi juice
- 1 whole head garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 pc Knorr Chicken Cube
- a pinch of sugar (optional)
- 1 kilo chicken legs or thighs
Step 1: Combine soy sauce, calamansi juice, garlic, pepper, Knorr Chicken Cube, and sugar in a bowl. Add chicken and transfer to an airtight container.
Step 2: Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Make sure not to keep it in the solution for more than 4 hours.
Step 3: Remove chicken from the marinade. Pat pieces dry using paper towels.
Step 4: Dredge chicken in your chosen breading mix.
Step 5: Deep-fry chicken until golden brown. Drain on a rack to remove excess oil. Serve hot and crispy with rice, a fresh salad, or fries.
How to Make Your Fried Chicken Extra Crispy
Now that you know how to make your chicken meat extra flavorful, it's time to move to the breading. Here are some tips to get the golden skin extra crispy!
Coating in flour
There's no shame in reaching for a packet of ready-to-use fried chicken breading. Instant options are a lifesaver, especially when you’re rushing to feed kids. Alternatively, you can create a homemade breading with a 3:1 ratio of flour to cornstarch. Season the breading mixture with a crumbled Knorr Chicken Cube for extra meatiness. Dredge the chicken evenly and shake off the excess flour before dropping it into the hot oil.
Frying in oil
Neighborhood eateries, sidewalk vendors, and fast-food chains cook their chicken in a vat of hot vegetable oil. At home, you can get away with less fat. Fry the chicken in a heavy-bottomed pan with just two inches of oil. But make sure not to overcrowd your pan. Also, maintain a temperature of 350-375°F to achieve an even, golden-brown finish.
Draining the fried chicken
Allow your cooked chicken to drain on a wire rack. Using paper towels will trap the steam underneath and make your chicken soggy. If you're penny-pinching, you can use a wire strainer or the grills of your clean ihawan.
Filipino-style fried chicken marinades are uncomplicated. They call for affordable everyday ingredients and require minimal prep. Who says you need to spend big bucks to make one at home? Follow this guide for the juiciest, crunchiest fried chicken every time.