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Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Gai)

har cheong gai

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Prawn Paste Chicken (also known as fermented shrimp paste chicken or “har cheong gai“/虾酱鸡) is one of my favourite local zi char dish. The main ingredient for the chicken marinade is prawn paste (shrimp paste) which is truly “smelly”, pungent and will stink up your kitchen (you have been warned!) – yet it lends such a genius touch of savoury deliciousness to many South East Asian dishes that my pantry is never without it!

Related Recipe:


Air-Fried Prawn Paste Chicken Recipe


See Also:


I usually add a teeny bit to certain stir-fries such as pineapple fried rice and it became a hidden secret ingredient which brings together all the flavours of the dish. A plus point of home-cooked version of har cheong gai is that you know the vegetable oil used is clean and always changed after each round of deep frying.

prawn paste chicken

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27 Responses to “Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Gai)”

  1. Clairice — May 25, 2014 @ 11:21 am

    Hi wiffy,

    Is it possible to use belacan block, instead of the paste? I’ve a block but dunno how to make the paste. Dun want to waste it. :)


    • wiffy replied: — May 27th, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

      for this recipe, I would recommend shrimp paste and not substituting with the belacan block, because you do need it in the liquid state to form the coating for the chicken before deep-frying. For other uses of shrimp paste, I frequently add it to my stir-fries and especially fried rice (just a small tsp will do) as a secret ingredient to jazz up a dish. Get the shrimp paste tag at the end of the recipe to see what other recipes it appear in :)


  2. Diana — September 26, 2015 @ 3:16 am

    Hi, I was just wondering if potato starch can be used instead of adding corn flour to the batter before frying? What I understood from reading some recipe books/websites, corn flour will produce the fried texture of tortilla chips and potato starch… the texture of potato chips which means it’s crispier. Is that right?


    • wiffy replied: — September 28th, 2015 @ 3:26 pm

      Yes, you can use potato starch in place of corn flour. I think the difference you mentioned is perhaps more profound in Japanese karaage than in fried wings.


      • Diana replied: — September 30th, 2015 @ 2:06 am

        Yes. Thank you very much! :)

  3. yvonne ang — January 10, 2016 @ 4:32 pm

    HiHi! Can Prawn Paste Chicken be cooked in the AirFryer? If so, what do I need to take note, and for how long on what temperature? Thankyou for inspiring all of us home cooks!


  4. Selene — February 4, 2016 @ 2:38 pm

    Just wanted to share that i followed your recipe but baked in an oven toaster and it tasted yummy!! I placed the wings on a wire rack, baked at 200 degrees before cranking up to 250 degrees to get the crispy skin. No oily stove/kitchen to clean. Yeh!!


  5. Cecilia — March 8, 2016 @ 3:15 pm

    I have a bottle of prawn paste instead of shrimp paste. Can I used this? This prawn paste I have seen ppl using it for penang rojak.

    Thanks for time n advice


    • wiffy replied: — March 11th, 2016 @ 12:01 pm

      If it’s black colour sauce, it’s not the same one. The sauce colour should look like the one shown in page 2 of the recipe.