The chicken thigh fillets, pounded, cut into portions, seasoned, dredged in flour, dipped in egg, rolled in panko and fried.
Yes, chicken katsu-style. Why? Why not just flour the chicken and fry? Because panko gives fried food an incomparable texture. If you’ve never tried katsu before, you should. That’s really the only way to appreciate what you may think at this point to be a rather elaborate preparation.
Why chicken thigh fillets? Won’t chicken breast meat do? Red meat is out default here at home. Using chicken breast meat is a last resort for us.
So, yes, it’s a matter of preference. If white meat is your thing, you may substitute. But because breast meat is practically fatless, it dries out faster during cooking. You may want your fillet slices to be a bit thicker to prevent that from happening.
Now, about the sauce. The base is sweet chili sauce to which soy sauce, lemon juice, honey, garlic, ginger and Sriracha are added.
You can buy bottled sweet chili sauce in almost any Asian grocery. But if you want a sticky glaze that caramelizes as it cools (the caramelized sauce adds an extra layer of crispness to the fried chicken fillets), you may want to make your own sweet chili sauce.
Sweet chili sauce
Sweet chili sauce is available in Asian stores. But most are thickened with starch. In this recipe, starch is omitted. Instead, the ingredients are boiled until reduced to a syrupy consistency.
Thai-inspired sweet spicy fried chicken fillets
- 4 large chicken thigh fillets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 egg - beaten
- ½ cup panko - (you may need more)
- cooking oil
For the glaze
- ½ cup sweet chili sauce - homemade or store-bought
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup lime juice - or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha - use more for a spicier glaze
- 3 tablespoons crushed lotus seeds - (or use the more traditional roasted peanuts)
- sliced scallions
- Wipe the chicken fillets dry with paper towels. Pound to a uniform thickness of about a quarter inch, cut each fillet into two to three portions and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
- Dredge each piece of chicken in flour; shake off the excess. Dip in egg. Coat with panko.
- In a small sauce pan, mix together all the ingredients for the glaze. Cook uncovered over medium heat to reduce. This should take about eight minutes.
- While the glaze reduces, heat enough cooking oil in a frying pan to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- Fry the breaded chicken fillets over medium heat until the bread crumbs are crisp and golden. Flip to cook both sides evenly. Don't forget to check the glaze to avoid scorching.
- Arrange the fried chicken fillets in a platter and drizzle the glaze over them. You may also opt to toss the chicken with the glaze to coat them evenly.
- Garnish with crushed lotus seeds (or peanuts for a more traditional touch) and sliced scallions before serving.