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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. B — July 31, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

    Tasty and fragrant, just like at a zichar restaurant!


  2. Alice — July 31, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

    Delicious! I love this version of chicken!


  3. Lizzie — July 31, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

    This looks delicious! What else do you use the shrimp paste for?


    • wiffy replied: — August 1st, 2013 @ 12:31 am

      As mentioned in my post, pineapple rice, and basically many Asian stir-fries esp those involving seafood and poultry.


  4. jonie — August 1, 2013 @ 12:33 am

    What is the difference between this shrimp sauce and belachan?

    Can I use it to fry kangkong, long beans etc?

    Like Lizzie, I would like to know what are the other uses of this shrimp sauce.




  5. tigerfish — August 1, 2013 @ 11:08 am

    Wow, they are fried to perfection!

    Not many stalls can master this – sometimes, supposed to be Har Cheo Gai but taste more like fried chicken.


    • wiffy replied: — August 1st, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

      agree with you. without the sharp aroma of shrimp paste, it will just taste like five-spiced chicken like those from the economical bee hoon stalls.


  6. Felicia — August 1, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

    Hi Wiffy

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, I will give a try this weekend. Do you think grilling this wings will taste as good as frying?

    Thanks for suggesting other dishes which the shrimp paste can be used. After cooking your delicious pineapple fried rice recipe, I was wondering what to do with it ;o).



    • wiffy replied: — August 2nd, 2013 @ 11:06 am

      I honestly don’t think har cheong gai will be same without deepfrying, but if you do give it a try, let me know. I do have a local-style baked wings recipe at


      • Felicia Ng replied: — September 23rd, 2013 @ 9:18 am

        Hi Wiffy

        Sorry for my late update, I tried your recipe 3 weeks ago.

        Unfortunately, mine did not turn out well … very salty. I am not sure if it is due to the long duration of marinading, mine was more than 24 hours. Would you recommend me to remove the oyster sauce?


        • wiffy replied: — September 23rd, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

          Hi Felicia, sorry to hear that. Did you measure the quantities? Yes, reduce the oyster sauce next time, and/or the shrimp sauce (maybe half it).

  7. CSoon — August 6, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

    anyone tried this on Philips air fryer?


  8. Lynn — September 21, 2013 @ 8:41 am

    Wiffy, yours have a very nice redness. Mine turned out abit floury white.
    What could have been the cause? How do we get the redness?


    • wiffy replied: — September 23rd, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

      Hi Lynn, it sounds like you may have coated your wings with too much flour. The flour, when added to batter, must be dissolved completely into the marinade and form a sticky coat on the chicken. If you see dry white flour on it, they will turn out floury white when deep fried.


  9. Quek Pauline — September 27, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    Guess you are right! I basically coated the marinated chicken with flour and straight into the wok!
    Taste a bit salty too, I will add less shrimp paste. Overall, I got a nod from family.
    Hopefully next attempt would be a better success! Thanks for sharing.


  10. Sharon — November 13, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    Thank you for this great recipe Noobcook. Tried it and tasted delicious!