Inche Kabin, or Nyonya Fried Chicken, as Little Penang does.
Wellington has always been spoiled for choice when it comes to authentic Malaysian cuisine at a good price. In the side streets and alleys of the city, you will find students and food lovers who feast on mee goreng and nasi lemak.
When Little Penang arrived about five years ago, it was an immediate game-changer. Led by chef and owner Tee Chiew Phee (pictured) and her husband Keith, their dedication to authentic Peranakan (or Nyonya) cuisine was something very different from what was previously on offer in the city.
This is in part due to the fact that some spices and herbs not available in New Zealand come from Penang itself. The resulting flavor and authenticity is what keeps this Dixon St restaurant constantly busy.
Tee worked in the corporate world for many years before opening Little Penang, where her grandmother’s recipes now reach a much wider audience.
* Restaurant review: Little Penang
* The top 10 must-try dishes in Auckland, Christchurch, Waikato and Wellington
Having grown up with Nyonya food, Tee is fully committed to cooking it in an authentic way. The tangy assam laksa is one example; it’s unlike anything else available in New Zealand, and that’s because Little Penang themselves brings Torch Ginger Buds from Malaysia.
This humble restaurant is unique in New Zealand and Wellingtonians are lucky to have it.
INCHE KABIN (NYONYA FRIED CHICKEN)
For 4 to 6 people to share
4 shallots, mashed
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tsp ground fennel
tsp ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon of sugar, or to taste
100 ml thick coconut milk
1.5 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
vegetable oil, for frying
1 tsp of mustard powder
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire or HP sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of lime juice
1 teaspoon of light soy sauce
2 red peppers, sliced
toasted sesame seeds
Combine all the ingredients for the spice paste in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat well. Put in the refrigerator to marinate for 3 to 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
Mix the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or deep fryer and fry the chicken pieces until almost done. Keep at moderate heat. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
Heat the oil and fry the chicken until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the heat and drain on paper towels. Garnish with cucumber, sesame seeds and lemon, and serve hot with the sauce.
Chef’s Note: If clove powder is not available, finely mash about 12 cloves.
* Extract reproduced with permission from New Zealand Restaurant Cookbook by Delaney Mes; recipe © Little Penang. Photography © Liz Clarkson, 2017. Posted by Penguin NZ; rrp $ 50.00. Outside now.