This blog has been around in various forms for a long time now. Almost 10 years, if I do recall. Well, more like 8 and a half years, but that’s close enough. And when it comes down to it, the very first reason that I made this blog was because we had made buttermilk chicken and I was eager to share it. I didn’t make it my first blog post of course, but it was one of the first.
I’ve actually had a couple of recipes for it – one using evaporated milk (v1) and one using condensed milk (v2). Between the two of them, I would say version 1 is better. Unfortunately, my recipes from back then didn’t really have very good pictures. So I thought I’d update a few of my favourite recipes. The tested and true. Give them the attention they deserve. First on the queue are these, Buttermilk Chicken.
And for good reason. Years and years after I first made the original recipe, this recipe for buttermilk chicken is consistently on of the most popular recipes on this blog. Probably because of homesick Bruneian students in the UK, maybe because of people who want to learn how to make their favourite dish at home, I don’t know. It really is one of the most popular pages here.
People outside of Brunei may not have had the chance to sample this particular delicacy. I’m not quite sure where it all started, but the very first buttermilk chicken that I’ve tried was from the Teo Poi Hoon restaurant, which sadly, is no longer available to me right now. But practically every restaurant in Brunei has a buttermilk chicken dish.
There’s a good reason Bruneians love this dish so. Simply because it’s delicious. The chicken pieces are seasoned and deep fried to golden crisp perfection. Then a sweet yet savoury, spicy yet creamy sauce is poured over it. You get the fragrance of curry leaves with every bite. I don’t need to describe the flavour, practically every Bruneian knows it.
I’ve seen buttermilk used in almost everything, not just chicken. Fish is a popular substitute. Prawns. Never seen buttermilk beef, I don’t think. But I’ve seen buttermilk chicken burgers, buttermilk chicken pizzas. Mind you, not all are to my taste but it just goes to show you just how beloved buttermilk chicken is.
And with this, you can tweak and tailor the dish to your taste. Want it more spicy? Add more chillies. Sweeter? More sugar. Thicker sauce, thinner sauce? All are possible. I dare say that the version we make is better than the ones we get outside. Our current favourite for buttermilk chicken right now though, is Nonya restaurant. It’s delicious. But these are even more so. Don’t believe it? Give it a try.
- 500 g boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into strips
- Cornflour, for dusting
- Salt and pepper, for seasoning
- 4-5 tablespoons butter
- Fresh chillies, sliced, to taste
- 1 stalk fresh curry leaves
- 200 mL evaporated milk
- 3-4 tablespoons sugar
- Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Coat with cornflour.
- Add enough oil to a small wok to deep fry the chicken pieces and heat over medium high heat. Once hot, add the chicken pieces slowly, one at a time. Fry until the chicken pieces are golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- To make the sauce, heat the butter over medium heat. Once hot, add in the fresh chillies and curry leaves. Fry until fragrant and the curry leaves are crisp.
- Add in the evaporated milk and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Lower the heat and keep on stirring, until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Season as necessary with salt.
- Add in the fried chicken pieces with the sauce. Mix well, and serve immediately.
- To get the lovely yellow colour, you can't skip the sauce thickening. The butter has to be combined with the milk, otherwise you're going to get greasy butter puddles at the top. Not pretty.
I don’t normally like sweet chicken dishes. Definitely very much a salty salty salty chicken kind of girl. But this piques my tastebuds. I really like the undercurrent of the curry leaves under the spicy sauce. And the sauce may be sweet, but its also very savoury. And goes very well with the crisp coating on the chicken. I would definitely go with boneless chicken thighs for this one, but you can use boneless chicken breast if you prefer.
Normally though, I have to say, I prefer butter chicken – the drier cousin of buttermilk chicken. Now that one, I haven’t been able to replicate. It’s a bit harder to get the strands of egg without ending up with an unrecognisable mush, but that’s probably a good thing. Otherwise, I might just have too much of it.
In the meantime, enjoy this over steaming hot white rice. Go on. You deserve it.