Family Favourite

Asian Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Chef Regina Lee's buttermilk marinade makes this chicken extra moist and tender. The final product can be enjoyed two ways: as-is, or tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce.


  • fridge
  • stove
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • saucepan
  • whisk or fork
  • bowl
  • medium-sized storage bag
  • baking sheet
  • dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot
  • cooling rack
  • probe thermometer
  • slotted spoon


  • (if not using store bought buttermilk)
  • 300 mL whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 500 g boneless chicken thigh (option of skin on or off)
  • 5 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 100 mL buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine)
  • 200 mL buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 60 g all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 350 g potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • SAUCE:
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Siracha sauce (Add more for spice preference)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water


  1. If using buttermilk substitute, stir lemon juice into whole milk and leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This can be made ahead and chilled in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Massage chicken with marinade ingredients and chill in fridge for at least an hour or best overnight.
  3. Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and heat till sugar and honey are dissolved and sauce has come to a boil. Set aside.
  4. For buttermilk batter, whisk buttermilk and egg. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, whisking in the dry to the wet until a smooth batter is achieved. Keep chilled if not using straight away.
  5. Add spices and flour in a medium-sized food storage bag and shake well to mix.
  6. Set up dipping station with marinated chicken, buttermilk batter, flour mix and a cooling rack over a baking sheet for resting the battered chicken.
  7. Dip chicken into buttermilk batter, allow excess batter to drip off before coating chicken in spice flour mix. Hold the top of bag tightly before shaking the flour mix to coat the chicken completely. Remove the chicken from the bag, shake off excess flour and lay on cooling rack. Continue to batter the remaining chicken.
  8. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (or heavy bottomed pot) to 340° F (171° C). When the oil is ready, carefully ensure the chicken is fully submerged in the oil. Do not overcrowd and cook only in batches ensuring the oil temperature is maintained. Reduce heat if the oil temperature gets too high. Cook until the chicken is golden brown and the internal temperature (use probe thermometer) reads 165° F (74° C).
  9. Remove chicken and place on clean cooling rack on a baking sheet to drain off excess oil.
  10. You can plate up the fried chicken as cooked or continue with step 11 for second way of serving up this Asian buttermilk chicken with an Asian sweet sauce.
  11. Reheat the sauce and toss the fried chicken pieces gently, until even coated.
  12. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced spring onions. Serve as an appetizer or main dish with a bowl of steamed Jasmine rice.


  1. You may replace the boneless chicken thigh with other chicken parts, such as chicken wings or chicken drumsticks. Please note that if cooking with bone in, you will need to increase cooking time. Different sized chicken cuts will also affect the cooking time. Use a probe thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked by ensuring the internal meat temperature reads 165° F (74° C).
  2. In this recipe, you have the option to use chicken with or without skin. The batter will still create a lovely crunch for skinless chicken thigh and you would hardly notice it is skinless.
This recipe was created by Chef Regina Lee. Check out a video for this recipe and more on her YouTube channel. 
Chef Regina Lee