Taiwanese fried chicken proved to be one of the most addictive fried chicken dishes that I have made off late! The magic is in the pepper sprinkle & the crunchy Thai basil leaves!
While exploring more chicken snacks recipe, I chanced up a fried chicken dish which, without any warning, became our most favorite fried chicken instantly!
Yes, I am talking about this Taiwanese fried chicken which turned out to be super-addictive, winning both of us at the same time!
I haven’t explored Taiwanese cuisine in detail yet, but after tasting this gem from them, I am definitely gonna explore more.
This Taiwanese fried chicken is like no other fried chicken I had till date; the flavors in this one is very different and has an exceptional character of its own.
The secret of this addictively flavorful Taiwanese fried chicken lies in its marinade and on the special pepper mix which is sprinkled on top of the chicken before serving.
Also another must-have is the fresh Thai basil leaves which are fried until crispy and adds a wonderful crunch along with the crispy chicken.
If you watch Taiwanese street food videos on Youtube, you’ll see how the super-efficient street food vendors are flash frying the basil leaves for 10 seconds on their super-large flame just before serving their Taiwanese fried chicken.
These basil leaves compliment the chicken so beautifully that it’s simply incomplete without them!
Now let’s talk about the pepper powder mixture which creates ultimate magic upon hitting the hot fried Taiwanese chicken as soon as they are out of hot oil & still sizzling!
This pepper powder blend is a mixture of white peppercorns and Sichuan peppercorns along with salt and red hot chilli powder.
White pepper is not too overpowering but adds a subtle hint of spiciness whereas Sichuan pepper brings in a unique aroma which is more citrusy in nature instead of being pungent like black peppercorn.
Together they create an incredible combination of flavors which makes this Taiwanese fried chicken unbelievably delicious!
While making the pepper powder mix, I strongly suggest to use a mortar and pestle to grind the whole peppercorns instead of churning them in an electric grinder.
The reason of that is when you pound the peppercorns using the heavy pestle, you are helping them release their natural oil which adds more flavor into the mixture!
Once your peppercorns are grind well to a fine powder, you just have to whisk it up with some salt and some hot red chilli powder. And there is your magic powder right there!
You will have more than what you require in this recipe of Taiwanese fried chicken, but trust me it won’t last too long!
This pepper mix is so good that you can sprinkle them on anything you like; hence little extra of this pepper blend is a good thing to have handy in your pantry.
This Taiwanese fried chicken is literally incomplete without generous sprinkling of this miraculous pepper mix on top!
To make my Taiwanese fried chicken, I used boneless & skinless chicken thighs as you may have already realized that I am a chicken-thigh-kinda girl.
But if you like chicken breast more than thighs, please, by all means, use chicken breasts. Just because I find chicken breasts a little too dry to my liking, I turn to chicken thighs.
If using chicken breasts, you may want to pound them using a heavy rolling pin before chopping them up; this will break down the fiber present in chicken breasts and helps crisp them up while frying.
But, if you are like me and inclined towards chicken thighs, then simply cut them up into bite-sized pieces and you are good to go!
How to serve Taiwanese fried chicken? Any dipping sauce?
No! These scrumptious fried chicken need no dipping sauce! To be honest, any dipping sauce would kill the real flavor of this Taiwanese fried chicken.
The bites of chicken are not only flavorful thanks to the magical pepper mix, but they are also very succulent & juicy inside which happens due to its magical marinade! Hence the chicken will not be dry at all and you won’t miss any dipping sauce!
It would be unfair if I don’t give the marinade its due credit and only acknowledge the pepper blend for all the beauty of Taiwanese fried chicken.
The marinating liquid consisting of mirin, soy sauce, grated ginger & garlic and little dash of cornstarch to bind things up, creates this wholesome goodness in the name of Taiwanese fried chicken! This one is a must-try recipe! Enjoy!
Looking for more chicken snacks recipe? Check these out –
- Best Ever Homemade Chicken Nuggets
- Hot Garlic Fried Chicken (Kkanpunggi)
- Chicken Lollipop
- Crispy Fried Chicken Strips
- Chicken thighs – 500 gms, boneless & skinless
- Eggs – 2
- Water – ¼ cup
- Cornstarch/corn flour – 2 cups
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Thai basil leaves – 1 cup, tightly packed
- White peppercorns – 2 tsp
- Sichuan peppercorns – 2 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Ginger – 1-inch piece, grated
- Garlic – 5 to 6 cloves, grated
- Chinese 5 spice – ½ tsp
- Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
- Mirin – 1 tbsp
- Cornstarch/corn flour – 1 tsp
- Cut the chicken thighs into small bite-sized pieces. You can use chicken breast too instead of thighs. Set it aside.
- First make the pepper powder blend by grinding the white peppercorns and Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar & pestle until you get a fine powder.
- Transfer ¾ of the pepper powder mixture from the mortar to a small bowl. Add salt and red chili powder to the bowl and give a good mix. Your pepper sprinkle is ready. Set it aside until needed.
- Now transfer the remaining ¼ of the pepper powder mixture to a large mixing bowl in which you will be marinating the chicken.
- To the same bowl, add Chinese 5 spice powder, soy sauce, mirin and cornstarch or corn flour. Give everything a good mix to make a uniform mixture. Your marinade is ready.
- Now add the cut chicken pieces to the prepared marinade and coat them thoroughly with the marinating mixture. This marinade is the primary flavor, hence take your time to mix everything really well. Leave the chicken to marinade for 30 minutes.
- When you are ready to fry, heat enough vegetable oil in a deep frying wok for deep fry.
- While the oil is heating, whisk 2 eggs in a bowl with ¼ cup of water & pinch of salt. Also spread the cornstarch on a shallow plate.
- Now start coating the chicken by first dipping each chicken piece into egg mixture, lift it up to let the excess liquid drip off, then lightly coat it in cornstarch on all sides and finally tip into the hot oil.
- Do not overcrowd the pan while frying, else the fried chicken will not come out crispy. Continue deep frying them on medium heat until they turn beautiful golden brown on all sides, flip them over in between for even cooking; it would take about 6 to 8 minutes per batch to cook the chicken completely.
- Take them out using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel to soak excess oil. Immediately sprinkle little bit of the prepared pepper powder mixture on top of the hot fried chicken.
- Fry the remaining pieces of chicken similarly and hit them with pepper mixture once they are cooked and out of oil.
- Now in the same oil, tip in the Thai basil leaves. Be careful as the leaves tend to splatter a lot of oil. Fry them just for couple of minutes on medium heat until they turn super crispy. Take them out and place on absorbent kitchen towel.
- While serving your hot Taiwanese fried chicken, pile up the fried chicken pieces on a serving bowl and then scatter the crispy fried Thai basil leaves on top.
- Finally, sprinkle the pepper powder mixture generously all over and serve the delicious & hot Taiwanese fried chicken along with your favorite drink! Enjoy!