If you've been following my blog, you would probably know by now how I dislike deep frying in my home. So with most of our craving for deep fried food, I would use my oven to do the job for me. But with har jiong gai? Is it even possible? My answer is a resounding yes!
The most important ingredient for this dish, is of course, the very pungent fermented shrimp paste, or belechan as we are familiar with. I am always for a quick-fix-meal kind of a mom so I've opted for the easiest way to get hold of my shrimp paste. I also use this to fry my belachan fried rice or kangkong, so there's varied dishes you can use it for too! A bottle costs about $3.50.
1) 18 pcs mid wings (or any other parts of the chicken you like)
2) 1 tbsp shrimp paste (dilute with 1/2 tbsp of water)
3) 1 tbsp oyster sauce
4) a dash of sesame oil
5) pepper to taste (I like loads of it)
Marinade the chicken with the above ingredients from no.1-5 for at least 2-3 hours. Leave in fridge.
When you are ready to cook, prepare the oven temperature to 180 deg celcius. Line your baking tray with foil paper and spread a very thin layer of oil evenly on the foil. This aids with "frying" the chicken and prevent the skin from sticking to the foil paper.
Lightly coat the wings with cornflour and as evenly as possible, shaking off the excess flour before placing on tray.
Place the wings in the oven and "fry" for 15 minutes and then turn the wings over the other side and "fry" for another 15 minutes, till golden brown. Take the wings out and let it soak up any excess oil on an absorbent paper towel before serving. Best served hot!
Many deep fried food we consume outside are deep fried twice to achieve a crispier outer layer. So just before I served the wings to our table, I laid a fresh foil paper on the baking tray, and place all the wings into the oven again. This time, at a high of about 200 degree celcius for about 10 more minutes or till crisp.
UPDATE 14 Nov 2014
I cooked another round of har jiong gai the other day - as shown in the photo below. This round, I did not even put a thin layer of oil and I used baking paper instead. It still came out lightly crisp! Just remember to shake off the excess flour after coating it and it should turn out nicely!