Oh, crispy chicken, how we love thee.
If we were counting, we might lose track somewhere between crispy chicken wings and crispy chicken sandwiches, but I’m inclined to stop at chicken nuggets. Of course, that’s the nostalgia of my youth speaking, when I was eating fried cashew chicken in Southwest Missouri and the occasional four-piece chicken nuggets from McDonald’s.
“Damn Delicious” author Chungah Rhee would like for us to consider bang-bang chicken. Not the traditional Sichuan bang bang chicken, which is not fried — Rhee’s version is inspired by the similarly named dish served at the Cheesecake Factory. Coated in panko crumbs, fried and then drizzled with a sweet and spicy mayonnaise, this chicken will delight families with children or anyone looking for a twist on your favorite variation on crispy chicken.
For the sweet chili mayo sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. hot sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot Sauce)
For the chicken:
1 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb.), cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups panko
Whisk together the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, honey and hot sauce in a small bowl; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, egg, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces, and toss to coat.
Working with one piece at a time, dredge the chicken in the panko, pressing to make sure each piece is evenly coated. Set aside.
Working in batches, fry the chicken in the skillet until evenly golden and crispy on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve immediately, drizzled with the sweet chili mayo sauce. Serves 4.
— From “Damn Delicious: 100 Super Easy, Super Fast Recipes” by Chungah Rhee (Oxmoor House, $24.95)