Saturday, September 4, 2010

"the house that fried chicken built"

My family describes it as fried chicken heaven.  Think crispy.  Think tasty.  This is absolutely "sarap (delicious) to the bones"  Yes folks, for those of you who remember that slogan, we all know that I'm talking about Max's Fried Chicken.

If America has Colonel Sanders' KFC, in the Philippines we have Max's.  But while Colonel Sanders' recipe hides the chicken with its breading, Max's does not.  Max's Restaurant is famous for its unique fried chicken recipe.  A usual order is for a quarter or half chicken with dinner rolls and butter on the side.

I remember there was a Max's restaurant near UP (University of the Philippines- where I went to school). I went there on a first date with a guy.  You might think "how cheap!" but in my defense, I was young and that was the closest restaurant to UP at the time that served an iconic dish.

Waiter (to me): Your order Ma'am?
Me: Fried Chicken
Waiter: What size ma'am.
God knows I wanted the whole spring chicken. But yeah, it was our first date so I have to look demure, so I said "A quarter!"
Waiter: And you sir (to my date)
Date:  Pork barbecue (on a stick)
I said to myself "Really?" as my eyes rolled in disbelief.  How could he order a pork dish in a restaurant made famous by its fried chicken???  Hmmm, major turn off?  Guess again.  I married the guy. haha!  I made a note to myself that I will have to do the ordering on our next date...

And so this fried chicken recipe I am sharing may not be the "secret recipe" Max's Restaurant has been keeping through out the years but trust me, it comes close.  Make sure to get your sauces ready: you know the drill, yes the Jufran Banana Ketchup, the Worcestershire sauce and maybe some Mother's Best hot sauce.  Serve with dinner rolls, King's Hawaiian Bakery or Costco dinner rolls are the closest to what is served in the Philippines.  Enjoy!

Fried Chicken ala Max's 

1 chicken whole or 4 leg quarters
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 stalks of lemongrass
3 bay leaves

2 stalks of celery
cilantro leaves

Pound the lemongrass. Make sure to get the juices out. Rub it on to the chicken.  Mince the garlic and mix it together with salt and pepper.  Rub it to the chicken. Slip more of the mix under the skin. You need some TLC while rubbing it under the skin, you don't want the skin to tear. 

Throw in some bay leaves, peppercorns, cilantro leaves and celery (or any herbs and spices to add more flavor) in a steamer.  Steam the chicken for 30 minutes.  Hang it to dry or for faster results pat try with paper towels.  Proceed to the next step or you can  put it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. Make sure to bring the chicken out an hour before cooking.

Now here’s  where you decide what to do next:  

a:  Submerge the chicken in a pot full of oil and deep fry it on high heat. 
b:  Bake it at 375F in an oven, or in my case, the turbo broiler, until very crispy. When you hear the skin crackling, voila, it’s done! 

Either you bake it or fry it, you will enjoy a tasty, crispy fried chicken ala Max's.  As I've said before  have some banana ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.  And if you would want to have some heat, add some hot sauce. Go ahead, mix that sauce just the way you like it and enjoy this crispy fried chicken. 

Check out my video on YOU TUBE


  1. One of my all-time favorite Pinoy comfort food! Reminds me of home and always hits the spot! Yum!!

  2. great post, malou. I like that you steam the chicken and then fry it when it's dry. 

  3. This looks so good, Malou! I love that part of steaming the chicken, too! An added step but am sure that makes them juicy & tender on the inside. Now I need a turbo broiler, you can lend me yours? ;)

  4. It's a long time I have not eaten fried chicken. This looks really delicious I would love to try. Wow...Malou, you can make restaurant food now! Planning to start a chicken fast food chain? I want to work there. I don't mind a quarter chicken :D

  5. I like the exotic essence that is imparted from lemon grass. I bet it tastes very good, so good that it inspired you to replicate it. I'm looking forward to trying it.

  6. Haha I'm glad you looked past the pork and got to know you future husband :P

    This looks way better than KFC. Like infinitely delicious.

  7. I love this! I really miss max's fried chicken. What's so good about this is, I can bake it....a healthier version of max's fried chicken. Thanks for posting! Love the pics...the skin really looks crispy!

  8. Looks yummy! Malou, I edited my recent post to give the name and link to the photo light I use. It's a Lowel Ego photo light, and I bought it on Amazon.

  9. Jun: yes the magic of comfort food, it transports you back home!

    arnold: great to see you here! steaming the chicken makes it 'sarap to the bone" hihi!

    caroline: you could just come over and enjoy the chicken with me haha. the chicken is definitely crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside...

    mary: yeah I'll name it MFC haha then you open a franchise of it over there in the UK.. how's that? haha!

    christine: lemongrass gives a hint of citrus-y. just a tiny hint... that makes you want more haha!

    joanne: when you're in love i guess you look past that and on everything haha... or maybe the chicken that did it haha!

    cookies and cream: heya... it's been awhile! yeah it's a healthy option. some say it's kinda different turbo/baking it but for me healthwise it's ok.

    ninnette: thank you for dropping by to tell me that you've edited it haha.. that was sweet... thanks for the tip!

  10. The chicken is gorgeous to look at and anything that's good to the bone must be extraordinarily flavorful. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  11. Max's Restaurant is such a blast in the past. I remember those days. Thanks for bringing back memories but now I could recreate it with your recipe.

  12. I got to try it... Yummmyy!!! Thanks for posting

  13. Thats so romantic malou!!!
    I love the love , between u'll despite the matter dont they nd love is beautiful specially if it goes thru eternity!!!
    And the chicken looks so delicious ,am sure its way more!
    Am happy to hear from ya and glad to be back , was without a computer for awhile:-(((
    Wonderful day to ya!!

  14. Malou!!!! I hate you! I actually decided. Just now. That I will go vegetarian. But of course. I read this post.

    Tonight... I will Max-ise a chicken!

    Tomorrow... I repent.


  15. What a cute story and this fried chicken sounds very special, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  16. one of these days i will finally try frying chicken at home...

  17. Oh I bet the flavor of the lemon grass really shines through. I look forward to trying your fried chicken recipe, will let you know what the family judge thinks.

  18. Sarap talaga! Oh, this recipe brings back fond memories of my many years in the Philippines. And you've got the secret of Max's chicken? I'm making this soonest, and thanks for sharing!

  19. Oh,this is pure torture!I love the idea of this two step method and based on it Ican just imagine how crispy the skin would be. Bookmarked!

    BTW, I liked that you ended up marrying the dat :) and I take it that you are still doing the ordering? :D

  20. Max's Chicken is still my all-time favorite chicken, but inasal is a close second :)

  21. Max's chicken definitely is a comfort food! thanks for the recipe Malou, i finally can try this at home :)

  22. Yummy fried chicken! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  23. wow your version looks so crispy-licious..thanks for sharing your technique, I'll try it :)

  24. Yum, can't say I've had Max's fried chicken recently but I'd devour yours in a minute! You made me laugh when you said you ordered the smaller portion to be "demure"! I always go for the bigger portions myself! Great job!

  25. Wow Malou, I went to the Max's near UP when I went back home this year! My parents probably had dates there too since they both went to UP as well :)

  26. LMAO! demure! how cheap! this post made me laugh so hard. i can just imagine you being hungry after the date....for more chicken.

    Ate Carol (with Ninang) linked me to ur recipe i think cuz they felt sorry for me that i was eating grocery store chicken.

    oh yeah, and they call it KFC as in Kikay's Fried Chicken. go figure.


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