Soy and Five-Spice Fried Chicken with Kumara Fries

, from Issue #63. December, 2015
Photography by Aaron McClean.
Soy and Five-Spice Fried Chicken with Kumara Fries

A finger-licking fried chicken dish that can be enjoyed by everyone. Tender thigh meat is infused with aromatics then dusted in spiced rice flour before being pan-fried to a golden goodness. 

Serves: 4


600 grams skin-off, boneless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine
2 tablespoons cornflour
3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground Chinese five-spice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 egg yolk
sea salt and ground pepper
To cook
1 cup white or brown rice flour
1 teaspoon ground Chinese five-spice
vegetable oil for cooking

Kumara Fries
3 large purple-skinned kumara
olive oil
​sea salt and ground pepper


Cut each chicken thigh into 3-4 pieces. Stir the Shaoxing and cornflour together in a large bowl until smooth then add all the remaining ingredients. Add the chicken and turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour if possible and up to 8 hours.

To cook: Put the rice flour and five-spice in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.

Lift the chicken out of the marinade and coat in the flour. Place on a large plate and leave for 10 minutes before cooking.  

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan and cook the chicken in batches until golden and cooked through. Drain on kitchen towels and keep warm in a low oven until all the chicken is cooked. Add more oil if necessary to cook the remaining chicken. 

To serve: Place on a platter and serve with a green salad and the following kumara fries and a bowl of mayonnaise combined with Sriracha or other chilli sauce. Serves 4

Pantry Notes: Shaoxing cooking wine (pronounced ‘shau-sing’) is a Chinese wine derived from glutinous rice. The flavour enriches marinades and braised dishes. Available from Asian food stores.  

Chinese Five-Spice is a traditional blend of five or more spices including star anise, cinnamon, cloves, Szechuan pepper and fennel. Available from Asian food stores and in the spice section at supermarkets.

Kumara Fries

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.

Cut the kumara lengthways into 2cm thick fries.

Place on a lined baking tray and brush with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning once until tender and golden.