My apologies for not including step by step photos. But I figured a recipe post with 2 photos is better than no recipe post at all. A couple weeks ago I had tried popcorn chicken with basil from a bubble tea cafe in San Jose, CA.. So I attempted to make it at home and I would say it came out pretty well.
This dish is a nice snack (or appetizer) to make, and after frying some marinated chicken I used the same oil to fry some fresh chili pepper, basil and sage leaves. We have a plentiful bounty of basil and sage in our backyard so it was nice to use some up in this recipe. It also gives a nice flavor and aroma to the chicken.
This also cost me $1 to make the entire dish. I bought chicken drumsticks (5 for $1), skinned them and cut them into cubes.
Popcorn Chicken with Basil and Sage
- 1 lb. chicken, skinned and cut into small cubes (I used drumsticks but you can use thighs or breasts)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. 5 spice powder
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- cornstarch (for dredging chicken with)
- handful of basil leaves
- handful of sage leaves
- 1 red chili pepper, sliced into thin slivers
- oil for pan-frying
1) Marinate the cubed chicken with soy sauce, 5 spice, white pepper, sesame oil and fish sauce for at least 30 minutes.
2) Wash the sage and basil leaves and pat dry with paper towel (to avoid splattering when frying in oil later). Cut chili pepper lengthwise and remove seeds. Slice into thin slivers.
3) In a large pan, heat up enough oil to pan fry the chicken with (so the chicken is half covered in oil) on medium high. As oil is heating up, pour some flour into a large dish and dredge chicken until it is completely coated with flour. Place chicken pieces (piece by piece) into the oil. Fry until bottom is golden brown then flip and cook until other side is golden brown (approx. 4-5 min. per side). Place cooked chicken in a large serving bowl. Heat may need to be changed back and forth, between medium and medium high to prevent smoking or burning of chicken.
4) After chicken is cooked, place chili pepper, basil and sage leaves in pan. Cook until leaves turn dark green and crispy. Put pepper and leaves into dish with chicken, toss with salt to taste. Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping.