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Author Notes: These extremely juicy and crispy nuggets, even comes with HOT sweet and sour sauce, will make you forget all about... Micky-who? More photos and details on: http://www.ladyandpups.com/2014/02/07/micky-who-better-homemade-chicken-nuggets-eng/ —Mandy @ Lady and pups
Makes 60 nuggets
- ** THE NUGGETS:
- 28.2 ounces (800 grams, about 4) of SKIN-ON chicken thighs, cut into chunks
- 10.5 ounces (300 grams, about 1/2 a pair) of skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
- 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black peppper
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- ** THE BATTER: (enough for 30 nuggets)
- 1 (15 grams) large egg yolk
- 1 cup (237 grams) of ICED water
- 3/4 cup (96 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) of tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- ** TO FINISH:
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper
- Chili flake to sprinkle (optional)
Hot, sweet and sour sauce:
- 3/4 cup (200 grams) of pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) of apple juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (25 grams) of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) of tabasco sauce
- 5 tablespoons (62 grams) of granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of dark brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon (small pinch) of salt
- 3 teaspoons (8 grams) of cornstarch
- NOTE: The pre-battered nuggets keep perfectly in the freezer for whenever hunger strikes, and the batter whips up in no time. Could be, or not be… a good thing. The freezing before processing the chicken is super important. The nuggets is extra juicy and flavourful because of the minced skin, but the skin will never be “minced” properly in the food-processor without proper freezing. By proper freezing, I mean borderline frozen, not rock-hard frozen. If you are flash-freezing the chicken right before the processing, cut them into chunks (so they freeze faster) and flash-freeze for 2 hours until the skins are hard. If you are using already frozen chicken (which is rock-hard), leave them at room-temperature for 1:30 ~ 2 hrs to thaw. You should be able to, with much applied force, cut through them with a knife. It’s always better to over-freeze than under-freeze.
- NOTE 2: If you don’t mind a few minutes of extra work, double/re-frying the nuggets at high-heat for about 30 seconds does make a difference (why do you think McD does it?). Yeah, just like French fries. It draws even more moistures away from the batter, making them crispier, and stay crispier for longer. Just for the record, I’m perfectly happy with the fried-once-only nuggets that are already golden browned and crispy. But if you need these nuggets to stay alive for hours, re-frying is a good option. Do not keep the nuggets in the oven to stay warm. It will kill them sogging-ly. Ain’t nothing wrong with cold but crispy nuggets.
- **TO MAKE THE NUGGETS: (See notes above about freezing the chicken) Spread the skin-on chicken thighs and chicken breast on a sheet in one single layer, and flash-freeze for 2 hours until the skins have completely harden. In a food-processor, add the chicken, cornstarch, salt and ground black pepper. Pulse until all the chickens are evenly cut into finely minced pieces (think beef tartar), but not fully “ground” into a paste. This is quite important as it retains the texture of the chicken, otherwise the nuggets will resemble meatballs or sausages. The skins should be evenly cut into the meat if they were properly frozen.
- Evenly whisk together all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper in a shallow bowl. Prepare a couple of baking-sheets that are lightly dusted with flour. Take about 1 tbsp of the chicken-mixture, form it into a firm/tightly packed ball (if it’s sticking too much on your hands, wet your hands with a little water), then roll it in the flour then gently press it down (keeping it inside the bowl of flour) into a chubby disk (well, like a nugget). It helps to maintain a “wet hand (chicken hand)” and “dry hand (flour hand)” system. The nugget should be thinly and evenly coated with the flour-mixture on all sides. Place it on the baking-sheets and repeat until you’re done with all the chickens. You should have about 60 nuggets depending on size. Flash-freeze the nuggets on the baking-sheets for 2 hours until completely hardened. Then transfer to an air-tight bag/container, and keep frozen until needed.
- **TO FRY/FINISH THE NUGGETS: Take however many nuggets you’re frying out of the freezer, set aside (doesn’t really need to thaw). Whisk together all-purpose flour, tapioca starch, black pepper, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Add the egg yolk into another large measuring-cup, then add enough iced water until it reaches 1 cup in total. Whisk until even, then pour it over the flour-mixture while gently mixing in with chopsticks or a fork. Do not over-mix the batter. It’s perfectly fine if there are small lumps of flour here and there. Add a few pieces of frozen nuggets in the batter to keep it cold (careful not to let them stick together).
- Add enough vegetable oil in a frying-pot until it reaches about 2? deep (I’m using a small, narrow pot so I didn’t need that much). Heat the oil over medium-high heat until when a wooden chopstick is inserted in the middle, small bubbles form immediately around the chopstick. Drop however many battered nuggets (let extra batter drain off for a few seconds before frying) into the oil without crowding the pot (the batter may break off into tiny pieces once it hits the oil. it’s ok. it should). Lower the heat down to medium and fry until golden on all sides and increase to high heat for the last 20 seconds (you have to control the heat so that the batter isn’t over-browned while the chicken is still raw). Drain the nuggets over a cooling-rack (see notes above about double/re-frying). Remove small pieces of batter from the oil with a slotted spoon in between each batch. Toss the nuggets with minced garlic, ground black pepper and ground white pepper. Serve with some sprinkled chili flakes, and… the sauce:
- **TO MAKE THE HOT, SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE: Combine pineapple juice, apple juice, lemon juice, tabasco sauce, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar and salt in a sauce pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and reduce the mixture down by 2/3. Take about 4 tbsp of the mixture out of the sauce pot and let it cool slightly, then whisk in the cornstarch until completely smooth and lump-free. Add it back into the sauce pot and cook over medium heat, until the mixture has fully thickened and goes from opaque to completely translucent (meaning the cornstarch is thoroughly cooked). Set aside until needed.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Chicken