Taiwanese Popcorn Hen (Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free)

Taiwanese Popcorn Hen is the crunchy, bite-sized flavor-packed fried hen you’ve been craving! My recipe happens to be gluten-free, soy-free, paleo, and Whole30-compatible (if air-fried) nevertheless it nonetheless tastes just like the precise deal!

What’s Taiwanese Popcorn Hen?

Taiwanese Popcorn Hen is a popular avenue meals merchandise found at night time time markets in Taiwan. It’s my favorite form of fried hen because of the hen objects are seasoned with a spice-packed soy sauce marinade that retains them juicy—and each chew is coated with a light-weight and crispy coating fabricated from tapioca or potato starch batter. The vital factor spices inside the marinade are Chinese language language 5 spice combine and ground white pepper, which give this popcorn hen its distinctive, crave-worthy style.

Taiwanese Popcorn Hen is normally paired with fried Thai basil as properly, which type like crispy anise-flavored inexperienced chips!

Soy-free and gluten-free popcorn hen

Must you’re celiac and missing Taiwanese Popcorn Hen, make this paleo and gluten-free recipe. I’ve modified the identical previous soy-sauce based totally marinade with a doctored-up mannequin of my super-versatile All-Operate Stir-Fry Sauce and think about me: the type is spot-on! Moreover, the batter is after all gluten-free—it’s merely potato starch. And do you have to’re avoiding nightshades, the potato starch can merely be substituted with tapioca starch (though the following coating obtained’t be as crispy).

What’s the important thing to wonderful fried hen?

The precise oil temperature! For certain, the vital factor to crispy fried hen that isn’t soggy and greasy is to make sure the oil temperature stays spherical 350°F and the one method to do that precisely is with an right thermometer.

I make the most of two types of thermometers as soon as I deep fry stuff: my ChefAlarm which screens the oil at all times and my instant-read thermometer so I can spot take a look at the temperature. You’ll need to regulate the heat as needed because of the oil temperature will drop in case you add the hen to the pot. Nevertheless, it would moreover get too extreme do you have to aren’t sustaining an in depth eye on it.

Air Fryer and Whole30 Instructions

For a mess-free varied to deep-frying, you may as well make Taiwanese Popcorn hen inside the air fryer, nevertheless it obtained’t come out pretty just about pretty much as good. On the plus side, the recipe is Whole30-compatible do you have to air fry it! (Air fryer instructions are inside the printable recipe card on the bottom.)

Elements

Boneless, skinless hen thighs: Positive, I do know you’re tempted to utilize boneless, skinless hen breast nevertheless this dish really does tastes increased (and is juicier) with hen thighs.
All-Operate Stir-Fry Sauce: This magical sauce can do each factor and is the vital base for the soy-free and gluten-free marinade. I do know you’re bored with me saying it, nevertheless you really ought to keep up a bottle of it in your fridge at all times.
Spices: Chinese language language 5 spice combine and ground white pepper are the vital factor flavors in Taiwanese popcorn hen so don’t go away them out. You should buy every at your nice neighborhood Asian market.
Sichuan peppercorns: It’s not vital, nevertheless the tingly, numbing affect from Sichuan peppercorns is an effective method to full off this dish. Must you’re already at an Asian market buying for Chinese language language 5 spice and ground white pepper, chances are you’ll as properly resolve some up!
Flaky Sea Salt: I actually just like the crunch flaky sea salt offers to fried hen. My favorite mannequin is Jacobsen Sea Salt.
Avocado oil: It’s my favorite neutral, high-temperature cooking oil. Should you want to reuse it after frying, adjust to these instructions on learn to clear deep-fry oil with gelatin.
Potato starch: That’s the naturally gluten-free coating that I wish to make use of for this recipe. You could substitute tapioca starch, nevertheless I really feel potato starch offers a crispier crunch!
Thai basil leaves or basil leaves: Fried basil is elective, nevertheless the crispy herbaceous leaves add a superb tasty kick to this dish. Merely make it possible for the leaves are utterly dry in case you dump them inside the fry oil so there’s no splatter!

Tips about how you can make Taiwanese Popcorn Hen

Decrease up the hen

Pat the hen thighs dry with a paper towel and decrease them into 1-inch bite-size objects.

Marinate the hen

In a giant bowl, toss the hen with All-Operate Stir-Fry Sauce, Chinese language language 5 spice combine, and white pepper.

Marinate the hen for at least half-hour or lined inside the fridge for as a lot as a day.

Make the tingly seasoning salt

Whereas the hen is marinating, crush the Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or with a heavy pot. Then, combine the crushed peppercorns and flaky sea salt in a bowl and set it aside.

Batter the hen

Dump the potato starch into a giant, shallow bowl. Take a few objects of hen and toss them into the potato starch.

Coat the objects properly, and shake off any further. Place the coated hen objects on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat until the entire hen objects have been coated in potato starch.

Fry the popcorn hen

Should you’re in a position to fry the hen, pour avocado oil into a giant Dutch oven or high-sided pot. It ought to realize about 2 inches up the perimeters.

Heat the oil on medium extreme until it reaches 350°F. Fastidiously add just a few quarter of the hen objects to the oil, guaranteeing they’re not overcrowded.

Fry the hen until the objects are golden brown and cooked by the use of, about 2 to 4 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon or spider to change the cooked hen objects to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the tingly seasoning salt

Sprinkle the brand new popcorn hen with the reserved Sichuan pepper and flaky salt combine.

Fry the basil

Toss inside the basil leaves and fry until crispy, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve

Garnish the popcorn hen with fried basil leaves and eat immediately.

What can you serve with it?

Just a few of my favorite side dishes to serve with Taiwanese Popcorn Hen embody:

Smashed Cucumber and Carrot Salad
Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice
Crimson Cabbage Slaw with Tangy Carrot Ginger Dressing

Looking out for further recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll moreover uncover distinctive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Meals for Individuals (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).

 PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

Print

Taiwanese Popcorn Hen (Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free)

Taiwanese Popcorn Hen is the crunchy, bite-sized flavor-packed fried hen you’ve been craving! My recipe happens to be gluten-free, soy-free, paleo, and Whole30-compatible (if cooked inside the air fryer) nevertheless it nonetheless tastes just like the precise deal!
Course Dinner
Delicacies Chinese language language, Taiwanese
Key phrase Air Fryer, fried hen, gluten-free, nom nom paleo, nomnompaleo, paleo, soy free, Whole30
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook dinner dinner Time 15 minutes
Marinating time 30 minutes
Entire Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Power 485kcal

Elements

kilos boneless, skinless hen thighs2 tablespoons All-Operate Stir-Fry Sauce teaspoons Chinese language language 5 spice combine1 teaspoon ground white pepper2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns2 teaspoons flaky sea salt1 cup potato starch or tapioca starch6 cups avocado oil½ cup Thai basil leaves or basil leaves

Instructions

Pat the hen thighs dry with a paper towel and decrease them into 1-inch objects.
Place the hen in a bowl and add the All-Operate Stir-Fry Sauce, Chinese language language five-spice combine, and white pepper.
Toss the hen inside the seasoning and marinate for at least half-hour or lined, inside the fridge, for as a lot as a day.
Whereas the hen is marinating, make the tingly seasoning salt. Crush the Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or with a heavy pot. In a small bowl, mix the crushed peppercorns and flaky sea salt. Put apart.
Should you’re in a position to fry the hen, add the potato starch to a giant, shallow bowl. Take a few objects of marinated hen and toss them into the potato starch.
Coat the objects properly, and shake off any further. Place the coated hen objects on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the entire hen.
Pour avocado oil into a giant Dutch oven or high-sided pot. It ought to realize about 2 inches up the perimeters. Heat the oil on medium extreme until it reaches 350°F.
Fastidiously add just a few quarter of the hen objects to the oil, guaranteeing they’re not overcrowded. Fry the hen until the objects are golden brown and cooked by the use of, about 2 to 4 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon or spider to change the cooked hen objects to a paper towel-lined plate.
Season the brand new popcorn hen with the reserved Sichuan pepper and flaky salt combine. Repeat with the remaining hen objects, adjusting the heat to maintain up a cooking oil temperature of 350°F
Toss inside the basil leaves and fry until crispy, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Be sure that the basil leaves are very dry or the oil will splatter!)
Garnish the popcorn hen with fried basil leaves and eat immediately.

Video

Notes

Air fryer instructions (Whole30-compatible mannequin):

Observe steps 1 by the use of 6.
Spray the battered nuggets all through with avocado spray.
Air fry them in a single layer, in batches, at 400°F for about 11 to 14 minutes. Remember to shake the basket a few events whenever you’re air frying them to get them crispy all through.

Vitamin

Power: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 21g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g

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