I’m not a fan of chicken breast meat but I do know that when cooked correctly, it can still be moist rather than dry when it reaches the dining table. The key is short cooking time over high heat.
That was how there chicken breast fillets were cooked in this recipe. They were cut into bite-sized cubes, seasoned, tossed with starch then deep fried just until the surface was golden and crisp. They are tossed with the sauce off the heat to prevent them from cooking any further.
Why use starch for coating the chicken? Potato starch makes a ligher and crispier crust than wheat flour. And the crispiness is retained even after the fried chicken nuggets are tossed in the sticky spicy sauce. No potato starch? Cornstarch is okay.
If you’re wondering what the off-white bits in the dish are, those are chopped cashew nuts. Easy enough to mistake for garlic, right? Much as I adore garlic, chopped nuts make more sense in this dish to provide textural contrast with the moist chicken and the sticky sauce.
Fried chicken fillets with sticky chili sauce
- 2 chicken breast fillets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha (Thai chili sauce)
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon rice wine sake, mirin or Shaoxing
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- cooking oil for deep frying
- ¼ to ⅓ cup potato starch or cornstarch
- ¼ cup roughly chopped roasted cashew nuts toasted in an oil-free pan
- Wipe the chicken breast fillets with paper towels. Cut into one-and-a-half-inch cubes. Toss with the salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Dice the bell pepper after discarding the seeds.
- In a bowl, mix together the Sriracha, gochujang, soy sauce, honey, rice wine, ginger and sesame seed oil.
- Start heating enough cooking oil in a wok or frying pan to reach a depth of two inches.
- Place the chicken cubes in a resealable bag. Add the starch. Shake well.
- When the oil is hot, fry the chicken cubes (in batches if your frying pan is rather small) over high heat until lightly browned and crisp. Scoop out and drain.
- Pour off the cooking oil leaving only about a tablespoonful.
- Stir fry the diced bell pepper with a little salt and pepper for about a minute. Scoop out and set aside.
- Pour the prepared sauce into the pan. Cook over medium heat for about a minute. Turn off the heat.
- Add the cooked chicken to the sauce. Toss to coat every pice. Add the diced bell pepper and half of the cashew nuts. Toss a few more times.
- Transfer the chicken and peppers to a serving plate or bowl. Sprinkle the remaining cashew nuts over the chicken.
- Serve the twice the spice chicken cashew at once.