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Duncan’s BBH Fried Chicken Roll

Duncan’s BBH Fried Chicken Roll

4-6 Servings

00:20 Prep

00:15 Cook

Moderate - You'll be right

Two of my guiltiest food pleasures has to be diving into a big basket of perfectly fried chicken and indulging in a bowl of flavoursome Vietnamese noodle soup. For me the perfect piece of fried chicken doesn’t rely on a sauce or condiment, but a well-seasoned crispy outer coating that is succulent and full of flavour. Bun Bo Hue (BBH) is one of central Vietnam’s most iconic noodle soups that’s only now starting to gain traction in the West, compared to pho bo or pho ga (Vietnamese Chicken pho). Growing up, BBH was my favourite and I would religiously ask mum to cook it over pho, as both were labourious to make.  With its savoury umami, spiciness and lemongrass aroma, it was only fitting to marry these flavours in a crispy fried chicken batter.

This is not a traditional Vietnamese fried chicken recipe, but rather a creation born of my enthusiasm for both dishes, combining the techniques of southern fried chicken with the classic Vietnamese flavours of in BBH. This recipe draws inspiration from spicy fried chicken recipes such as Nashville fried chicken or southern fried chicken.

The techniques I have adopted include brining and dredging (coating with flour) but with a Vietnamese twist.  Brining involves steeping the chicken in a salty water bath infused with aromatics of your choice for 24 hours. This produces chicken that is tender, juicy and flavoursome, and when paired with a spicy crispy outer coating, it’s textural heaven. Brining is used in this recipe to drive that umami and lemongrass flavour into the chicken. The chicken is then dredged in three separate batters, two dry and one wet with each stage adding a unique layer of flavour.

This Vietnamese fried chicken is a versatile meal or snack because of the flavour it carries. Enjoy as is with hot chips and ranch dressing, in a bread roll with shaved lettuce and mayonnaise, or even with a bowl of freshly steamed rice. So, if you love fried chicken and Vietnamese flavours like I do, give this recipe a whirl. You’ll be doing yourself a favour... for flavour!

Duncan’s BBH Fried Chicken Roll
Duncan’s BBH Fried Chicken Roll


1kg chicken tenderloins 

6-8 Vietnamese rolls or a sandwich loaf  


70g sugar 

25g sea salt  

25g fish sauce 

2-3 stalks lemongrass, crushed 

2 star anise (optional) 

5g cassia bark or cinnamon (optional) 

30g ginger, crushed 

2 garlic cloves, crushed 

2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil 

1 teaspoon black peppercorns 

3 red shallots or 1 brown onion roughly chopped 

2 garlic cloves, crushed 

500ml water  

500g ice  

Batter 1 (dry) 

1 cup plain flour 

1 teaspoon sea salt  

Batter 2 (wet)

300ml soda/sparkling water (cold) 

1 cup plain flour 

1 egg 

1 teaspoon sea salt  

Batter 3 (dry)

2 teaspoons hot cayenne pepper (optional) 

2 teaspoons paprika or Kashmiri chilli powder 

2 teaspoons onion salt 

2 teaspoons garlic powder 

1 teaspoon salt 

2 cups plain flour 

½ teaspoon white pepper



  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil, star anise and cassia bark, cook for 1 min then add onion, ginger, lemongrass and garlic, and sauté until brown. Don’t be afraid if it’s slightly charred.  

  2. Add water, bring to boil then simmer. 

  3. Add remaining ingredients (except ice) and stir until sugar and salt dissolves. Remove from heat and add ice to cool. 

  4. Place the chicken in a large tupperware box/bowl (with lid) and pour in the cooled brine and aromats. Seal well and ensure the chicken is submerged in the brine. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.   


  1. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. 

  2. Dredge in first dry batter lightly, run through wet batter, coat well and allow excess batter to drip off, then lastly place in 2nd dry batter and pack flour onto chicken well. Shake off any excess flour. 

  3. Heat oil to 180 degrees. 

  4. Place chicken in saucepan and fry for 6-7 mins or until just cooked through. For an air fryer, preheat to 175 C and air fry for 12 mins. 

  5. Remove and place on cooling rack. Allow to rest for 3-5 mins before serving. 

  6. Serve with a bread roll, shaved lettuce and mayonnaise.

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