Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Chicken Fingers

 If you think that it's impossible to get chicken strips to that amazing crispy texture they serve at bars, think again. The secret is Panko, Japanese bread crumbs. It does something wonderful that regular bread crumbs can't. They are lighter, flakier, and gives a beautiful golden finish.

It actually tastes much healthier somehow, which takes away some of the guilt. Maybe it's the fresh chicken breasts, but who knows?

This recipe makes about 24 chicken strips so you can probably serve quite a bit of people as an appetizer. Cut them into smaller pieces and you have chicken nuggets.

I used 2 whole chickens and took off the breasts and reserved the rest for stock. I wasn't trying to be fancy but I needed to use the backbones to make a jelly stock for Chinese soup dumplings later. Anyways, store bought chicken breasts are perfectly fine and you'll need 4 of them. Cut them 1 inch thick and season with salt and pepper. Take about 3/4 cup of flour and season it generously with salt and pepper as well. The key is to season every layer because the last thing you want is a bland piece of chicken. I also added 2 tbsp of my spice rub for extra flavor. Toss the chicken strips in the flour until everything is well coated. You could do this in 2 ways : dump everything in a ziplock bag and start shaking, or put it in a little mixing bowl and do it in batches.

Crack 4 eggs in another bowl and season it again. Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture in batches of 4 or 5, then throw them in a baking tray filled with panko. Toss it around until its coated on all sides and lay them out onto a cooling rack to dry a little.

 Start heating your oil, making sure that it only comes up half way in your pan or pot. You'll want it at 350 degrees so use a candy thermometer.
After the chicken has had its time on the cooling rack, start frying 2 or 3 at a time. I used a pretty small pot so I didn't have too much room. If you have quite a bit of oil in your pot like mine did, you just need to let it sit in there for about 2-3 minutes. It should turn golden brown and you'll know its ready. If you are frying it in a shallow pan with a bit of oil, you may need to give it 2 minutes on each side.

I was smart this time, I opened the windows to let out the smoke. Can't remember how many times I've set off the fire alarm.

Serve it with mayo or ketchup or both and it was so good! I'm never buying frozen chicken strips again and you shouldn't either. Yes it takes a little bit of time, but I seem to have too much time on my hands anyways. So if you are bored this weekend, this is what you need to do. Hope you try it!
On that note, I won't be cooking anything this weekend since I'm heading off to Montreal! It will be my first time so I'm super excited. I will definitely be paying a visit to Chuck Hughes' restaurant Garde-Mange. Stay tuned for pictures!

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