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This batter is different from a typical American fried chicken batter. It's much thinner, wetter, and the chicken isn't floured and breaded. The corn starch makes for a super crispy, crunchy crust in a way that bread crumbs just can't. You can also use potato starch if you happen to have some. You still want to make sure you season your batter with salt and pepper.
You want to make sure your oil is about 350° F. If it's not hot enough, your chicken won't achieve desired crispness. If you don't have a kitchen thermometer, just do a test with one piece. It should begin to sizzle almost immediately.
Make sure you fry the chicken until it is golden brown. You're cooking raw chicken and you don't want to undercook it, nor do you want any raw batter. However if you cook it to dark brown you've gone too far. We chose to fry in a wok, but you can fry in a relatively deep cast iron skillet or dutch oven if that's what you have. Depending on the size of your pot, and how much chicken you have, you may need to fry in 2-3 batches. Using a large wok and 2 1/2 lbs chicken we had to do two batches. Each batch took about 10 minutes, but again, there will be some variance depending on how large you left the chunks.
You will need to thicken your sauce with a slurry made of 1/4 tsp corn (or potato) starch and about a tablespoon of cool water. You don't want to dump the corn starch directly into the sauce you're making or it will form unappetizing clumps. The dried chilis we've added are Santaka or Japones chilis. However, if you can't find them, you can substitute arbol chiles in a pinch. In fact, you will often find Japones chilis mis-labeled as arbol chiles in many supermarkets. The flavors and heat levels are fairly similar, though arbol chiles are a bit smokier. Also, if you don't have broth, you can just substitute an equal amount of water.
Bravado Spice Aka Miso Ghost Reaper Hot Sauce was a natural pairing for this recipe. There are many variations of this recipe that include sesame oil, but we chose to let the sesame oil in the hot sauce serve that function. The fermented flavor of the aka (red) miso adds a great depth of flavor we enjoyed. Our version of this recipe is about twice as spicy as what you'll find in most Chinese American restaurants. It is often garnished with sesame seeds and served with white rice and broccoli, but we chose to simply garnish with chopped green onions. Enjoy!
2-3 lbs - Boneless chicken, cubed
2 Tbsp - Corn starch plus a pinch
1/4 c - All purpose flour
4 c - Vegetable oil
1/2 c - Water
2 tsp - Minced garlic
2 tsp - Minced ginger
1/4 c - Soy Sauce
1/4 c - Unpacked brown sugar
1/4 c - Rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp - Broth
1 tsp - Salt
1 tsp - Black pepper
4-8 - Dried japones chiles
- Sesame seeds (optional)
In a bowl, mix the cubed chicken, salt, pepper, corn starch, flour, and 1/2 cup water. Mix well. You may need a little more water if the batter is too dry.
In a large wok or deep pan, heat the vegetable oil to 350°F and fry the chicken until golden brown. You may need to fry in 2-3 batches.
Drain the pot of almost all but about 1 tablespoon of oil, and add the minced garlic and ginger. Cook for about a minute over medium heat until the garlic just begins to brown, then add the soy sauce, sugar, rice wine vinegar, japones chiles, broth and Bravado Spice Aka Miso Ghost-Reaper Hot Sauce.
In a small bowl, mix about 1 tablespoon of cool water and 1/4 teaspoon of corn starch to make a slurry. When completely mixed, add to the pot.
Add the fried chicken pieces and toss well until evenly coated. Serve immediately over rice and top with optional sesame seeds or sliced chives.
You can substitute cauliflower for the chicken, and brown rice for white rice for a healthier alternative.
Calories 380, Protein 14 grams, Carbs 31 grams, Cholesterol 50 milligrams, Sodium 750 milligrams, Fat 21 grams