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+ servings
A plateful of Taiwanese popcorn chicken with bits of fried basil on top

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

A wonderful Taiwanese street food you can make at home
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Taiwanese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
marinade for at least 30 minutes to overnight 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 383kcal
Author Darlene at International Cuisine


For The Marinade

  • 1 lb chicken thighs boneless skinless
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 egg white

For The Batter

  • 1 cup sweet potato starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • cooking oil for frying

For The Seasoning

  • 1 tsp white peppercorn
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp hot paprika or to taste
  • 2 cups Thai basil


  • Cut the thighs into bite-sized pieces, roughly 3cm x 3cm (1" x 1").
  • Marinate them in the five spice powder, chicken bouillon powder, salt, sugar, grated ginger, finely chopped garlic, onion powder, corn starch, egg white, Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, pepper and mashed fermented tofu for at least 20 minutes.
  • Toast the white and Sichuan peppercorns on low-medium heat until slightly brown.
  • Use a spice grinder to grind the peppercorns into a powder. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
  • Combine the ground peppercorns with the five spice powder, paprika and salt.
  • Mix the potato starch and baking powder together, then coat the cut pieces in the batter. Use a colander to shake away any excess starch.
  • Heat up a wok of oil on medium heat and fry the coated pieces for 5 minutes or until golden.
  • Remove the pieces and let it drip dry in a sieve. Turn the heat up to high and double fry them for another 2 minutes.
  • Just before the chicken is ready, toss in the Thai basil leaves and let them fry for 2 minutes or until crispy. Scoop the chicken and leaves out into a large sieve or colander.
  • Put a serving of Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken into a platter along with some Thai basil. Add some of the spice mix in and toss all together until the pieces are evenly coated.


Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 2064mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 919IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 2mg