Come again? I know, it’s a bit of a curious name isn’t it?! The word Enche means Mister in Malay and is pronounced IN-CHAYK, although the pronunciation of the letter K is softer in the Malay language. Enche Kabin or Inche Kabin is Fried Chicken, Nyonya style, essentially, the chicken is marinated in a fragrant curry mix, preferably overnight, and fried. Extremely delicious & moist despite the frying, it is often eaten with a spicy dip, as a snack. I love making these for barbecue season and love to add a little chilli to the mix too.
Want to know more about the Nyonyas, a unique cultural group in Singapore and Malaysia? Nyonya is a term for the women as Baba is for the men and they make up a unique community that has it roots in Malacca. Often also called the Straits Chinese (from The Straits of Malacca), ethnically they are Chinese but have over the years, whether through inter marriage or sheer assimilation, taken on some marked Malay characteristics, namely the language spoken and the style of dressing. Their food, consequently, reflects this amalgamation of cultures, resulting in an incomparable cuisine – rich, aromatic and one that makes you a believer with the very first mouthful!
This is a family recipe from a very old friend of mine, we’ve known each other for over 30 years, her gran used to make them and unlike many other enche kabin (or inche kabin) recipes, she loves adding some galangal & lemongrass for extra flavour. That’s what I’ve been doing over the years, I’ve simplified the recipe slightly as so many other nyonyas I know do; instead of using the individual curry ingredients like cumin & coriander, I use a few tablespoons of curry powder.
If you can, marinate your Enche Kabin chicken the night before for the deepest flavour. Perfect with any chicken part, wings for barbecuing & little breast cubes for neat, no mess canapés, as in the picture. I am not going to give you serving sizes, I’ll leave that up to you, it’s so yummy, you’ll keep going back for more. As I was making this and taking photos, I must have had a dozen little cubes, they’re so addictive! I’ve listed the amount of chicken as being 1kg, this would refer to chicken wings. If you are using boneless chicken, I suggest you reduce the amount of chicken to 750g.
Traditionally, this is deep fried but tastes just as delicious baked, grilled and definitely barbecued.
BEST MARINATED OVERNIGHT
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- 1 kg chicken wings
- 150ml coconut milk
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- Oil for deep frying
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1"/2cm ginger
- half inch/1cm galangal
- 1 lemongrass
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1/8 tsp smooth mustard
- half red chilli, chopped in tiny bits
- half tsp sugar
- half a red chilli
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Pound/Grind the marinade ingredients with as much of the coconut milk as is needed to make a smooth paste.
- Mix the pounded ingredients with the rest of the coconut milk and the curry powder to make a smooth marinade.
- Thoroughly coat the chicken pieces with the paste and leave to marinate overnight or a minimum of 6 hours.
- Heat the oil until thoroughly hot. Drop a tiny piece of bread in, if it floats up immediately, the oil is hot enough.
- Fry the chicken wings a few at a time, for about 8-10 minutes, making sure the meat is cooked right through. Of course if you are using tiny boneless breast meat, it will take less time, about 5-6 minutes.
- Drain on kitchen towel and serve with the dipping sauce.
- Mix all the ingredients together and serve. Can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.