Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baked Nyonya Inchi Kabin ('Fried' Chicken)

Inchi Kabin is another Nyonya recipe, and I think of it as the Asian version of KFC because it is so delicious, and the spices that go in it are still somewhat of a 'secret'. I don't know for sure what spices go in it, but this is what I concocted based on a few inchi kabins I've had at Peranakan restaurants. I've read recipes of inchi kabin that only uses curry powder and coconut milk as a marinade, and I have to say that that is definitely wrong, wrong, wrong! If you have had inchi kabin before, you will know that it definitely does not taste like fried curry chicken. In fact, it is so much more aromatic and has a sweet aftertaste. My palate is pretty spot-on, especially with Asian spices, and I am very confident that this is an inchi kabin recipe to keep.

I tried to find out more about the name inchi kabin, because it surely does not describe the dish at all. I found out that inchi kabin used to be known as Encik Cabin Chicken, and the story goes like this. This dish was often cooked by cooks working on ships, and was a popular dish among sailors. When the meal is ready, the cook will shout "Encik dalam cabin, chicken siap!" (translation: Mister in the cabin, chicken is ready!), and this is howthe dish got it's name.

  • 4 chicken thighs
Ingredients for Marinade
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • thumbnail-sized ginger
  • 2" section of lemongrass
  • 2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons coconut milk

  • If you have a mortar, pound the garlic, shallots, ginger and lemongrass until it becomes a paste, or is completely smashed. If not, mince all these very very finely.
  • Cut the chicken breasts down the middle so that the marinade can seep into the chicken better. 
  • Add the garlic, shallots, ginger and lemongrass in a medium sized mixing bowl, and add the other ingredients of the marinade, except coconut milk, in the bowl.
  • Mix the marinade well, then add the chicken piece to the marinade.
  • Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and leave this in the fridge to marinate for at least one hours. I marinated mine for four hours.

  • Just before baking, add the coconut milk to the chicken, and mix everything until equally combined.
  • Place the chicken in a cookie sheet lined with aluminium foil, and bake for 40 minutes at 375F. 
  • After 40 minutes, serve.

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