Bite-size fried chicken is a big seller at fast-food restaurants. Our recipe makes it just as big a hit at home.
Why This Recipe Works
While traditional fried chicken requires work and patience, popcorn chicken is an easier way to enjoy it. To cut down onfrying time, we chose boneless, skinless chicken breasts; briefly froze them to firm them up for easier cutting; and thencut them into 1/2-inch pieces—the perfect “popcorn” size. Bringing the oil to a hotter frying temperature (400 degrees)and adding a little sugar to the dredge helped the chicken brown and cook through quickly without drying out. Stirring granulated garlic, onion powder, and cayenne into the dredge of flour and cornstarch (for extra crispiness) added pops of flavor, and baking powder provided lift so that the crunch wasn’t tough. For a substantial coating, we worked ½ cup of water into the dredge to create craggy bits; this provided extra mass that stuck to each piece and fried up into a thicker and crunchier exterior. To get the craggy dredge to readily cling to each piece, we tossed the chicken in beaten eggs before dredging it in two batches. Adding a little extra flour to the dredge between batches kept it from clumping too much. A simple honey–hot sauce dip completed this fun snack.