There are an embarrassingly large number of fried-chicken recipes in my home-cooking repertoire. It's because I make what I like to eat, but I wouldn't be cooking it so often if others didn't like it, too.
Most people can't be bothered to fry chicken, preferring to go out for it (and I admit to liking fast-food chicken, especially Jollibee and Popeye's). So do your friends a favour: invite them over for dinner and cook up a meal of fried chicken.
This chicken is addictive. It's crunchy and flavourful, and although it's best when freshly fried, I've been known to eat the leftovers cold.
Leave the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes, although two hours is better. Kaffir lime leaves come in pairs - you need four to six pairs, depending on size. They need to be very finely shredded, because if they're too thick, the pieces will be tough.
Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and put them in a bowl. Remove and discard the thick vein running down the centre of the kaffir lime leaves. Stack the kaffir lime leaves then fold them in half. Very finely julienne the leaves. Use the side of a cleaver to lightly crush the lemongrass stalk along the length, then cut it as thinly as possible. Cut the spring onions into 5mm (¼in) pieces. Put the lime leaves, lemongrass and spring onions into the bowl holding the chicken, then thoroughly mix in the chilli flakes, oyster sauce and fish sauce. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and sea salt until thoroughly combined. Add about 200ml of cool water to create a batter that thickly coats a spoon. Add the batter to the chicken and mix well.
Pour oil to the depth of about 6cm (2 ⅓in) in a pan and heat it over a medium flame. When the oil reaches 170°C (340°F), start frying the chicken in batches; do not crowd the pan. Fry until the pieces are medium brown and cooked through, adjusting the flame as needed to control the heat. Drain the chicken on paper towels.
Heat the oil to 180 degrees. Fry the chicken pieces a second time (this makes them crisper). Fry the pieces briefly - about a minute, then drain on paper towels. Serve hot or warm.