My podcast guest Yone gave me this Tawainese Fried Chicken recipe. Funny thing, Yone is vegetarian. But she says this staple in Taiwanese night markets is so good, it's really the only one she could think to share with us. Why? Yone answers that question also -
She "loves a dish with a good texture game".
So well said, Yone! The marinated chicken is unbelievably juicy, weet potato starch makes the lightest and crispiest coating, and the spicy, sour, sweet seasoning on top? - Yone calls it Chicken Crack.
My family went insane for this recipe and I'm thrilled to share it with you!
Questions About Tawainese Fried Chicken
What is used for coating the Taiwanese Fried Chicken?
Sweet potato starch. This was a brand new ingredient for me. From now on, I'll use it a lot more often in frying. The starch easily clings to the moist chicken, so no fancy breading techniques are necessary. And the texture? Amazing. Light and crispy. It's perfection.
Is this the same as Taiwanese Spicy Popcorn Chicken?
Yep. Sure is. The spiciness comes from a combination of spices that get tossed on right at the end - including white pepper, black pepper, and chili powder.
How do I marinate Taiwanese Fried Chicken?
This one might surprise you. The recipe is specific that you should not marinate for more than 3 hours. Ideally, Yone says, you'd only marinate the chicken for 30 minutes to an hour in a mixture of soy sauce, Mirin, Shaoxing wine, garlic, ginger, and plenty more spices. I followed Yone's directions and carefully limited the marinating time. The chicken's flavor was amazing.
What is Shaoxing wine and where can I find it?
Shaoxing wine is a spicy cooking wine made from rice. I had no trouble finding it at my local Asian grocery store. There's a very well-stocked H Mart near me.
What is white plum powder and where can I find it?
White plum powder, otherwise known as Li Hing Mui powder, is made from the skin of plums. I was a little confused about the red color (more like coral) and it turns out - that comes from red food coloring. I asked a couple people at my local Asian market about it, and they all said they didn't carry it. However, I was asking using the term "white plum powder". It's possible if I asked for Li Hing Mui powder, they may have known what I was talking about. Either way, you can find several brands on Amazon right here.
About Yone, Contributor of this Fried Chicken Recipe
I reached out to Yone because she shares such interesting stories about the flavors and ingredients she finds in the markets of Taipei… and because she’s willing to speak openly about the current pressures and threats on the Taiwanese, which is something I wanted to learn more about. It wasn’t until after I started to research for this interview that I learned she also identifies as a Latin American woman, because she was born, raised, and educated in São Paulo, Brazil, where it turns out there is a vibrant and resilient Taiwanese community. Yone is funny, matter–of-fact, and her story is every bit as fascinating as it sounds. Excited to share and just thrilled that you are all here today, thank you!!
P.S. Please note that the recipe originally came to Yone from Hanna Huang. Yone asked Hanna for permission before sharing this recipe.
What this Fried Chicken recipe means to Yone.
This dish reminds of my first trips back to Taiwan where the food felt foreign to myself but it was also a comfort because it felt familiar. It reminds of when friends come to visit that its one of the must-have dishes while visiting because just the fried basil leaves are a treat of their own.
Learn More About Yone and Taiwan
Click on the link or simply press play to listen now!
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Original recipe came with permission from Hanna Huang
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Tawainese Fried Chicken Recipe
5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Yone, Guest of The Storied Recipe Podcast. Originally from Hanna Huang and shared with permission.
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hour Cooking time
A staple of night markets, this Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken with Fried Basil hits all the texture and flavor notes: juicy, marinated chicken bites, coated in light and crispy sweet potato starch, and heavily sprinkled with a flavorful spice mix.
1 lb dark meat Chicken cut into bite-sized chunks
½ small yellow Onion diced into big chunks or thick wedge slices OR 1
shallot to substitute
3 slices Ginger cut into sticks
4 -5 smashed Garlic cloves
1 -2 pieces dried Anise*
1.5 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Mirin (Sweet Rice Wine)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (sub option white rice wine)
1 tablespoon Sugar
8 -10 Thai Holy Basil leaves
1 bag Sweet Potato Starch/Powder/Flour (it’s all the same)
- The Pepper Powder Spice Mix
1 ½t teaspoon White Pepper Powder
¼ teaspoon Chili Powder (double or triple depending on how spicy you want it)
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Five Spice powder
¼ teaspoon finely ground Black Pepper
¼ teaspoon Lemongrass Powder*
¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder*
⅓ teaspoon White Plum Powder
• Substitute: castor/fine sugar
* denotes optional ingredient
- Marinate the chicken with all other ingredients (except for Basil Sweet Potato Flour) for 30 min to 1 hour. (Note: do not marinate overnight or in excess of 3 hours.)
- To fry, heat oil up to 375 degrees F in fryer or on stovetop. Make sure you are using a deep pot and oil is at least 2-3 inches deep.
- Coat chicken pieces in Sweet Potato Flour thoroughly and fry in 2-3 batches (depending
- on your frying vessel) for about 5-7 minutes or until chicken is golden.
- Fry Basil leaves in the oil until slightly crisp
- Use a big bowl or colander to toss Fried Chicken generously with Fried Basil Leaves ("Chicken Crack")
- The Pepper Powder Spice Mix
- Mix all ingredients well and adjust to taste on optional items and spice level.
- Sprinkle GENEROUSLY over fried foods because it is magical
- Make sure to listen to Yone on The Storied Recipe Podcast, Ep. 126 "Taiwan is Not Chinese Taipei" while you make her Tawainese Fried Chicken Recipe!
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