• Fried Stuffed Chicken Legs


Learn how to break down, bone out, roll and tie chicken.

By Andrew Zimmern

This is a really fun recipe, perfect for the hobbyist cook who loves the flavors of Thailand and Vietnam. It’s skin-on boneless dark quarters, stuffed with a pork forcemeat — basically my ground pork spring roll filling studded with vermicelli noodles, wood ear mushrooms, garlic, ginger, carrots and shallots — that’s rolled, tied, fried and sliced. What looks complicated and unfamiliar is actually quite simple with the right knives and a little practice. Think of it as an art project.

I like to serve it bo ssam style — a centerpiece of protein, surrounded by pickles, condiments, sticky rice and lettuce leaves. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure experience. Grab a lettuce leaf, fill it with a few slices of chicken, pickled daikon and mustard greens, drizzle with nam jim and chase it with a ball of sticky rice. Don’t sleep on the nam jim, a sweet, sour, spicy dipping sauce with roots in Thailand. It’s my favorite sauce for fried chicken and seafood.

Knives used in this video:

Classic 4” Paring Knife

Paring knives come in a variety of lengths. This one is our 4-in. Shun Classic Paring Knife and it’s perfect for any paring task—as well as cutting small foods, such as garlic cloves or ginger, against a cutting board. The extra length of this knife makes it easy to peel and trim even larger fruits and vegetables, such as extra-large potatoes or apples.

Boning Knife

Shun’s boning knives are perfect for trimming the silver skin from a tenderloin or roast or even making your own cutlets. The narrow blade reduces the drag as you cut against the meat, so cutting is fast and easy. When it comes to filleting fish, the blade’s six-inch length is just right to glide through the body of the fish, quickly removing bones and skin.

Ultimate Utility Knife

This unusual-looking knife is a Shun original. The cutting edge of this amazingly useful knife features a wide serration that makes it just right for slicing delicate thin-skinned foods like tomatoes or foods with a thicker skin and delicate interior like avocados. Once you use it, you will be amazed at how often you find yourself reaching for this multifunction knife.

Fried Stuffed Chicken Legs


The Filling

  • 2 ounces dried mung bean noodles
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 golf ball sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1/3 cup wood ear mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red chile paste

The Chicken

  • 4 chicken dark quarters
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 minced or grated garlic cloves
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

The Dredge

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup corn starch

For Serving

  • Nam Jim dipping sauce (recipe follows)
  • Sticky rice
  • Pickled mustard greens, daikon radish or other pickles of choice
  • Butter lettuce leaves


First, make the filling. Rehydrate the noodles in hot water. Cut with a scissor or knife in 1inch lengths. Mix with the oil. Place in a large mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients, mixing VERY well to thoroughly combine.

Butcher the dark quarters by removing the thigh and leg bone. Whisk together the fish sauce, honey, vinegar and garlic. Rub the inside of the chicken with a teaspoon or so of this marinade. Stuff the chicken with the pork mixture. Secure using very fine kitchen string and a cooking needle. Toothpicks work in a pinch, but nothing beats fine cooking string for a more elegant look. Place the stuffed leg quarters in a shallow bowl and cover with the remaining marinade. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Add about 4 inches of oil to a large pot or Dutch oven. Over medium heat, bring the oil to about 375 degrees F.

Dredge in the starch mixture. Fry at 375 in vegetable oil for 12-15 minutes depending on the size of your chicken quarters. Fry 2-3 at a time. Use a 225-degree oven to keep the cooked legs hot while the rest cook.

Slice each leg into 1 ½-inch to 2-inch slices. Serve with the dipping sauce, sticky rice, Asian pickles, mint and cilantro, butter lettuce.

Nam Jim Dipping Sauce

  • 2-3 minced Thai chilies, or to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar (or light brown sugar)

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Taste and adjust, looking for balance between the sweet the salty and the sour. I make this version sweeter for chicken, and less sweet for seafood only using 1 of palm sugar.

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