This Burmese fried chicken recipe makes the gently spiced fried chicken drumsticks, which are a popular street food snack in Myanmar. The finger-licking fried chicken pieces are sold at roadside stalls to take away or eat at plastic tables set up around the stall, we make these finger-licking fried chicken pieces at home and dip them into homemade sweet chilli sauce.
We love our fried chicken. This Belles Hot Chicken Nashville-style Southern fried chicken is a favourite. But the spicy street food fried chicken you get in Southeast Asian cities, such as Bangkok and Yangon, has a special place in our hearts – and stomachs!
While Thai style fried chicken may be better known, Myanmar’s fried chicken is easily as delicious, and this Burmese fried chicken recipe will make you the kind of fried chicken that locals love to tuck into on the streets of Yangon and other cities in Myanmar.
This Burmese fried chicken recipe is next in a series of recipes from Myanmar intended to draw attention to the tragedy that’s been unfolding this year in the country, because frustratingly Myanmar news has largely disappeared from the pages of most mainstream media sites.
In case you’re not aware, in February a coup d’état ousted the country’s democratically elected government, which inspired a nationwide civil disobedience movement, to which the military responded with brutality, violence against peaceful protestors, raids on homes and abduction of activists, massacres in the streets, and airstrikes on villages, resulting in thousands of deaths of innocent civilians, including frontline workers fighting Covid.
Lara will soon be publishing a dedicated guide to how you can help the people of Myanmar and after she does, we’ll continue to share recipes for our favourite dishes from Myanmar with links to the guide.
Until then, we’ll highlight organisations that need support, such as independent news site Myanmar Now. The military regime is targeting journalists and the organisation desperately needs donations to continue its vital reporting work.
Now let me tell you a little bit about this Burmese fried chicken recipe.
Burmese Fried Chicken Recipe for a Spicy Street Food Snack at Home
On our travels in Myanmar, we noticed two types of fried chicken vendors on the streets. The first are those who lightly season and marinate chicken wings in a little salt, turmeric and fish sauce, but don’t coat the wings in flour.
The second type makes a fried chicken that has a richer marinade and they give the chicken a coating of rice flour before deep-frying the chicken. This is our favourite style and this Burmese fried chicken recipe makes that fried chicken.
We’re using mini chicken ‘drumsticks’ called chicken ‘drumettes’, which are in actual fact part of the chicken wing, so I should offer a little clarity on this ‘wing’. While you can fry the whole chicken wing, the tips tend to burn before the meat is fully cooked.
We prefer to buy pre-cut chicken drumettes, which is the thickest and first joint of the wing. Street vendors, of course, use all the wings, but our favourite fried chicken vendors chopped the wings into thirds: the drumette, the wingette and the tip, cooking these at different times. I’ve got a few more tips to making this Burmese fried chicken recipe below.
If you enjoy this Burmese fried chicken, do browse our other recipes from Myanmar, including recipes for Burmese coconut rice, Shan vermicelli noodle salad, Shan tomato salad, Burmese raw cabbage salad, Burmese egg curry, and ohn no khao swe, one of our favourite soups from Myanmar. Lara has adapted a few of these from one of her favourite cookbooks, the charming Cook and Entertain the Burmese Way (1978) by Mi Mi Khaing.
Tips for Making this Burmese Fried Chicken Recipe
Just a few quick tips to making this Burmese fried chicken recipe. First, we like to marinate the chicken for at least two hours, which is what the Myanmar street vendors do.
You can marinate the chicken overnight, but six hours is our maximum. Do let the chicken come back up to room temperature before deep-frying it.
As our dredge is a one-step process – there are no egg or breadcrumbs – you can place the flour and spices in a plastic bag, add the marinated chicken pieces, and shake the bag to coat.
As the coating is quite thin, we like to keep the temperature at around 175°C (350°F) checking with a deep fry thermometer, because if it’s any higher the exterior will brown too quickly before the drumette is cooked through.
While locals use a huge wok for deep-frying, I have a deep saucepan set aside just for deep-frying as it’s become well-seasoned. If you deep-fry often it’s worth investing in a dedicated deep fryer as you don’t have to keep adjusting your heat durning cooking. Have a baking sheet with a wire rack ready for the finished pieces to drain on.
While in Myanmar this Burmese fried chicken is often just eaten while strolling the streets, at home it’s a great treat to serve with some homemade sweet chilli sauce or homemade Thai Sriracha sauce. They’re not Burmese sauces, so not authentic, we confess, but they’re delicious with this fried chicken.
Burmese Fried Chicken Recipe
- 750 g chicken drumettes
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1.5 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 piece fresh ginger thumb-sized, peeled and chopped finely
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 lime juiced
Seasoned flour for Dredge
- 1.5 cups rice flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- In a non-reactive bowl, add the marinade ingredients and the chicken pieces and mix well. Let marinate for at least an hour. You can refrigerate for several hour or overnight.
- When ready to deep-fry, heat the oil up to around 120°C (250°F) so that it's not starting from cold.
- Mix the ingredients for the dredge in a large bowl or add to a large plastic bag. Have a sheet pan with a wire rack ready next to your stove for the finished chicken. Heat the oil to the frying temperature 175°C (350°F).
- Add the chicken to the seasoned flour and shake off any excess before carefully adding to the oil.
- Do not overcrowd your pan and only cook enough pieces that comfortably fit in your pan. Cook the chicken until golden brown, this should take around 8 minutes. Place on the wire rack to drain.
- Serve with the sweet chilli sauce or just eat it on its own while still warm.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make our Burmese fried chicken recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.