Popcorn Chicken (Taiwanese)


  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1egg
  • 1 cup tempura batter mix, or as needed
  • peanut oil for frying
  • 1 bunch Thai basil, chopped
  • 2green onions, chopped
  • 1 pinch ground white pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Combine chicken pieces, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, white pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Let marinate for 10 minutes.


  • Step 2

    Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  • Step 3

    Whisk egg in a small bowl until smooth. Pour tempura batter mix into a second small bowl. Dip chicken pieces one at a time into the egg, then dredge in tempura batter mix, shaking off any excess. Lower chicken pieces carefully into the hot oil in batches. Fry until chicken is golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining chicken.

  • Step 4

    Serve chicken sprinkled with basil leaves, green onions, white pepper, and salt.

  • Cook's Notes:

    Boneless chicken breast works well instead of chicken thighs.

    You can also use sweet potato flour instead of tempura batter mix.

    Editor's Note:

    We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

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