Lets make the most delicious salt and pepper chicken nuggets with one secret ingredient that nobody could've figured out. This chicken nuggets recipe is the closest replica of all Chinese restaurants' recipes.
If you love Chinese food, you know this famous dish. And I swear the moment I figure out the secret ingredient that makes it as it is, I almost burst into tears. It was not like that, but a little exaggerating is needed for this amazing salt and pepper chicken nuggets recipe.
Two different components make this salt and pepper recipe taste amazing.
- The right amount of salt & pepper together with the secret ingredient.
- The dipping sauce.
Yup, you read it right. If you ate this dish without lime & pepper dipping sauce, you've ever truly experienced it to the fullest.
What's part of chicken did I used?
Well, there is no secret that I am in love with dark meat chicken. Therefore, I'm using boneless chicken thighs in this recipe.
However, if you are not a big fan of dark meat, you can always switch out for chicken breast. But be aware of cooking time; the breast part requires less time than the thigh meat.
This recipe can use other types of meat or seafood: shrimp, fish nuggets, turkey nuggets, etc. The number of other ingredients should stay the same; no need for adjustment.
The secret ingredient
So what is the secret ingredient I'm bragging about besides those two key ingredients: salt and pepper? It is cinnamon powder.
Are you surprised, right? All you need to do is add a small amount of this unique ingredient into your chicken nuggets to make it taste the same as your favorite Chinese restaurant's dish.
This secret ingredient is also used in this Chinese-style salt and pepper shrimp recipe: one seasoning mixture makes two delicious dishes.
- Get rid of any excess as much as possible before adding the chicken to the oil.
- Make sure there is enough oil to cover all the nuggets, and the temperature is at least 350F.
- Add a small batch of nuggets. Do not overcrowd the oil.
Also, before proceeding with the cooking process, ensure you have plenty of vegetable oil available. It'll run out of oil quickly, so having extra on inventory won't hurt the process.
Besides this delicious salt and pepper chicken nugget, I have plenty of other wonderful fried chicken recipes. Like this fantastic replica of Bonchon fried chicken or this super crispy twice cook chicken wings.
Salt and Pepper Chicken Nuggets
- 1 lb chicken thigh boneless, skin on, cut into bite site
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 small white onion small dice
- 3 jalapeno or other mild/sweet pepper sliced
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp lime juice freshly squeeze
- ¼ tsp vegetable oil or any neutral oil
- Put the chicken (already cut into bite-size cubes) in a mixing bowl and marinate the mixture.
- Let chicken marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (because milk is used here, if left at room temperature, milk might go bad).
- In a large mixing bowl, put salt, tapioca starch, and all-purpose flour together. Mix well, so everything is incorporated.
- Add vegetable oil (more than halfway) to a deep shallow frying pan and heat on high heat. Make sure the oil reaches 350F before adding dredged chicken nuggets.
- Work in small batch: gradually dredge marinated chicken with flour mixture; before putting in hot oil to fry, give it a little shake to get rid of excess flour. Fry the nuggets for 5-10 minutes (depending on your batch size). Or until the chicken turns golden brown color.
- Continue to work with the rest of the chicken nuggets. Add more oil and flour mixture as you go, if needed. If you need to add more oil, remember to wait for it to reach 350F before keeping frying. Set fried chicken nuggets aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine all the seasoning mixture. Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil to another cooking pan, followed by the seasoning mixture. Cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes or until white onion just turned golden brown.
- Add fried chicken nuggets to the hot pan, and give them a few shakes to coat the chicken thoroughly with the seasoning mixture (around 30 seconds to 1-minute max).
- Combine all ingredients in the dipping sauce and give a few stirs.
- Serve chicken nuggets immediately with dipping sauce on the side. Enjoy!