This popcorn chicken is a very common street food in the night markets in Taiwan. These bite-sized chicken are so crispy, juicy and flavorful. Traditionally, the chicken are marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and Chinese five spice powder. Then dust in sweet potato starch before deep-frying them. Once they are done, season with salt and pepper, and serve with deep-fried Thai basil. I was up in the woods in New Hampshire on the weekend and had limited ingredients so I used breadcrumb and skipped the basil, but it tasted as good as the street-food version.
- 1 pound (454 grams) boneless skinless chicken tenders or chicken thigh, cut into at least 1×1″ bite sizes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce or 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup (128 grams) golden breadcrumbs or sweet potato starch
- 4 cups (1 liter) vegetable oil for frying
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- Thai basil for garnish (optional)
- Marinate the chicken in large bowl mixed with, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil for 15 mins.
- Fill one medium bowl with the breadcrumb.
- Heat the oil in a deep fryer or deep pot to 375ºF (190ºC).
- Dredge the chicken cubes in breadcrumb (a few pieces at a time); shake off excess. Place the chicken on a clean plate or baking tray lined with paper towels.
- As the oil reaches the temperature, add the chicken 6-8 pieces at a time to fry until golden brown, about 3 – 4 mins. Once fried, drain the chicken on the paper towels.
- Once all chicken are fried, toss with some salt, pepper, chili powder and/or five spice powder.
- Fry the Thai basil for about 30 secs and serve with chicken (optional).