Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Recipe

Every time I think about Taiwanese popcorn chicken, I think about those high school days when we used to go to Tapioca Express over at Mount Lake Terrace. It was THE spot for bubble tea and delicious foods like this. I always ordered this chicken with five star spice lol. This generic recipe isn’t spicy but I’ll show you later how I make it so!

The coating is sweet potato starch which I found at H-Mart. I’m sure you can find it in any Asian store. This makes the chicken sooooooooooo crispy. I love crispy crunchy foods, so this is up my alley!

Traditionally, chicken thighs are used and it’s absolutely delicious. If you don’t have thighs at this moment, don’t be afraid to use chicken breast. I actually used chicken breast for this post because I have WAY too many chicken breasts and so itty bitty chicken thighs in my freezer. I was a bit scared it would be tough, hard, and disgusting but it was not EVEN. It turned out super moist and tasty! Yay me.



3 pounds chicken thighs or breast

1 head garlic, pounded

2 TBS rice wine (Mirin)

4 TBS soy sauce

3 TSP Chinese five spice powder

2 TSP white pepper

2 TSP grated ginger

4 TSP sugar

1 TSP salt

Sweet potato starch

Thai basil leaves

For dusting:

Ichimi Togarashi

White pepper



1. Marinate with the ingredients for at least 3 hours or overnight.

2. Coat with Sweet potato starch and let dry on parchment paper for twenty minutes. This helps the coating stay unto the chicken! No need to use egg as the moisture from the marinade helps it stick! It’s a plus for me because my daughter has an egg allergy.

3. Fry in batches until golden brown, about five minutes. I fried it in medium high heat.

4. Fry Thai basil leaves for like twenty seconds? Idk lol but it’s super quick. Don’t over fry it, though. You can fry the leaves before or after the chicken. Did you know you can find thai basil at Safeway?

5. Season with salt, white pepper, paprika & ichimi togarashi to taste. I use pink salt in my kitchen and it’s not overly salty so be careful if you’re using like straight up table salt.

note: I couldn’t find ichimi togarashi seasoning so I just used this japanese seven spice shichimi togarashi that I found at Safeway lol. It’s probably wrong, but the chicken still tasted so freaking bomb!

Here is how I make it super spicy! Haha, technically you can use chili powder, but I got these from my friend from Indonesia. Ughhh I love spicy food so much and when she gave me this, I was like YES, I can make anything super spicy by just sprinkling these on my food. These are the best! You notice that level 30? LOL.

Alright friends! This is it. So simple and actually pretty quick (not including the marinating time). It’s so addicting especially with white rice. As I’m sitting here writing this post, I want to eat some more. I hope you’ll try this recipe because it is so good and so crispy! Definitely a finger lickin’ good type of recipe.


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