Gai Kua Kem - ไก่คั่วเค็ม

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When I was growing up, after Chinese New Year, the question was what to do with the chicken used in making offerings to ancestors. Now, the question is what to do with leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

A dish commonly made from the offered chicken is salted chicken. Each household spices it a little differently with salt, soy sauce, garlic and/or ginger. My grandmother would chop up the chicken with bones still attached into bite size pieces. She'd fry up the chicken and season it with salt. The salted chicken was kept in the kitchen to be eaten for several days to come. I often sneaked in and grabbed a few pieces because it was so delicious...crunchy and salty. This chicken would make you forget potato chips.

After Thanksgiving, my leftover turkey with just the dark meat that is hard to carve becomes something delicious. I boil the turkey until the meat falls off the bones. Then I turn the meat into turkey chips...sort of.

Tips and Techniques

  • Any leftover roast, boiled, fried chicken or turkey works well for this recipe.
  • Boiling the turkey is meant to remove meat that's stuck in small crevices and tenderize the meat.  With the chicken, this step may not be necessary.
  • I bake the chicken to minimize the amount of oil used and the time standing in front of the stove and maximize the crispiness.  My grandmother fried the chicken pieces until dried and crispy.
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