30, May 2010
Fried Chicken Bites

Fried chicken bites
I decided to try my new fried chicken technique on boneless breast. Since it has no skin, I figured I’d try a coating of corn starch, and I thought it made more sense to fry the chicken in bite-size chunks than to just try frying a big slab of breast meat. I followed the same brine-steam-fry approach (though this time all in one day), and they came out very good, a little crispy outside and tender inside, with a good fried flavor. They worked well added to stir-fried vegetables just at the end, long enough to pick up a little sauce. The increased the salt and sugar in the brine since I was doing it for just 2 hours instead of overnight. Obviously, the flavors mixed into the cornstarch can be varied for different effects. Cayenne pepper is good for extra heat, and turmeric can give the chicken a nice color. Powdered ginger, five-spice powder, or curry powder can all work well too.


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (around 3/4 to 1 lb)
Peanut or other good frying oil
4 c warm water
1/2 c kosher salt
1/2 c sugar
1-2 tbsp ground white pepper
1-2 tbsp Korean red pepper flakes


Mix the brine ingredients in a sealable container until the salt and sugar dissolve in the water. Add the chicken and refrigerate for 2 hours. For a longer brine, halve the salt and sugar and brine overnight. Remove the chicken from the brine. Steam the chicken in a steamer for 45 minutes over medium heat. Remove and chop into bite-size chunks. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator half an hour before frying. Put enough cornstarch in a bowl to toss the chicken pieces in. Add white pepper and red pepper flakes to taste and mix. Add the chicken pieces in batches to the cornstarch mixture and toss to cover. Remove to a colander and shake off excess cornstarch. Add enough peanut oil to a pan to submerge the chicken pieces and heat it to 375. I use a medium saucepan on medium to medium-high and give it 10 minutes to heat up, then fry the chicken a few pieces at a time. Fry each batch for about two minutes, until they start to form a slight crispy crust, then remove them to a paper-towel-covered plate, sprinkle with a little salt, and pat dry. Eat them as finger food, with a dipping sauce, or add them to stir-fried vegetables for a minute or two right at the end.