Taiwanese fried chicken

A popular night street market snack in Taiwan , this flavorful dish is made by marinating chicken pieces in soy sauce , ginger , garlic , sugar , rice wine , pepper , five-spice powder and coated with sweet potato flour then deep-fried . Fried basil , spicy salt or sweet chilli sauce are commonly used as an accompaniment .

I can't find any sweet potato flour here or maybe I didn't look hard enough , most baking supplies shops I've visited only have potato starch . This kind of flour is essential in making this crunchy fried chicken .  I used a generic brand of Japanese potato starch instead , the one I use when I have a hankering for karaage . And if you've tried the Japanese fried chicken version , potato starch is a great substitute .

Though the Thai basil crisps are only use as a side dish , it is a must in my opinion , as it lightens the dish and adds a wonderful flavor variation .

Simple and easy to make , this delightfully crunchy fried chicken will surely please young and old alike !

Recipe adapted from Home-style Taiwanese Cooking and Adam Liaw

600 grams ( about 2 pieces ) boneless , whole chicken legs , cut into 1.5 to 2-inch pieces 
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons grated garlic 
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons raw sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine 
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder  

150 grams potato starch
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves 
Thai sweet chilli sauce , to serve 

* In a mixing bowl , combine the chicken , ginger , garlic , soy sauce , salt , sugar , rice wine , black pepper and five-spice powder , mix well . Marinate for an hour or two . 

* Coat the marinated chicken with potato starch , set aside for 10 minutes . 

* Heat oil over medium heat , when oil is hot , scatter in the basil leaves , the oil will splatter for few seconds so be careful . Cook for 20 seconds or until leaves are translucent and crisp , transfer to a wire rack to drain and set aside . 

* Deep-fry chicken pieces in batches over medium-heat , 3-5 minutes , turning the heat to high in the last minute or until golden , transfer to a wire rack to drain and cook remaining chicken . 

* Scatter basil crisps on top of the fried chicken and serve immediately with chilli sauce on the side . Best eaten with rice / fried rice or on its own . 


  1. Gosh..how I miss Taiwanese food! These chicken bites look so crisp and you are so right, those basil leaves are a MUST!

  2. Oh my Anne, those little nuggets of chicken look crunchy good! I don't remember seeing sweet potato flour at the grocery either. Perhaps I wasn't looking hard enough:) I will next time though. If not I should pick up the potato starch. I usually have it in the house but I ran out. I'd LOVE to try this recipe especially with the Thai Basil leaves which I actually do have in the house, lol...

    Thanks for sharing, Anne...

  3. This chicken looks delicious! I have been meaning to make fried chicken for a long time, but I am always so scared of hot oil! At least I can look at yours. :)

  4. Hi Anne, this fried chicken is finger licking good. I could eat the whole plate. LOL
    Yet to try crispy basil leaves but it look so good. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a nice weekend, regards.


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