Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken
- 500 grams chicken fillets, (see notes after the recipe)
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons salt, (see notes after the recipe)
- ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, (see notes after the recipe)
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 egg white
- 6 tablespoons tapioca starch
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- cooking oil
- 1 generous handful Thai basil leaves
- Wipe the chicken fillets dry with paper towels and cut into bite-size pieces.
- Place the chicken in a bowl. Add the oyster sauce, rice wine, half of the five-spice powder, half of the salt, half of the Sichuan peppercorns and half of the ground white pepper. Mix well.
- Add the egg white and two tablespoons tapioca starch, and mix.
- Cover the bowl and leave the chicken to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the remaining five-spice powder, salt, Sichuan peppercorns and white pepper.
- In a wok or frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge and toss with the remaining tapioca starch (with the baking powder mixed in). Shake off the excess.
- Over medium heat (about 300F), fry the chicken for three to four minutes, or just until a crust forms on the surface.
- Scoop out the chicken, dump into a strainer and allow to reast for a couple of minutes.
- Turn up the heat to high (350F) and fry the chicken a second time for about a minute.
- Add the Thai basil leaves to the chicken and continue frying for a minute or until the Thai basil leaves start to turn crisp.
- Scoop out the chicken and Thai basil and dump into a clean bowl.
- Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture over the chicken and Thai basil, and toss a few times.
- Transfer the Taiwanese popcorn chicken to a plate and serve at once.
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