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Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Recipe

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Recipe

Did you know that these Popcorn chicken is famous in Taiwan night market?  These Taiwanese-style popcorn chicken is juicy on the inside yet crispy on the outside. The taste is so delicious when tossed with the salt spice mix and garnished with fried Thai basil leaves. So yummy and you just can’t stop to munch it.

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Recipe


  • 1 lb Chicken Breast fillet, or Thigh fillet (about 450g)
  • 1½ cup Sweet potato flour (about 200g) (or potato starch/cornstarch)
  • Basil leaves A handful ( any type available, Thai/Sweet/Italian Basil)
  • Oil, for deep frying 
  • 1 Egg white
  • For the Marinade:
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (Light soy sauce/all purpose soy sauce) 
  • 1 tbsp ShaoXing Wine (Chinese Cooking Rice Wine)
  • 1 tbsp Grated garlic or garlic paste
  • ½ tsp White pepper powder
  • ½ tsp Chinese five spice (Ngohiong Powder)
  • For the Salt Spice Mix:
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns ( toasted, finely ground), see notes below
  • 1 tsp White pepper powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Paprika


  1. For Marination: Chop the chicken into small bite-size pieces. In a bowl, add all the marinating ingredients together and add the chicken pieces. Combine it well and let it stand for 15 minutes. Alternatively you can marinade it overnight inside the fridge using an air-tight container.
  2. Take the marinated chicken pieces and add the egg white and mix it well.
  3. In another bowl, add the sweet potato flour/ potato starch. Roll 3-4 chicken pieces in the flour, dredge and press gently to coat well. Shake off excess flour before deep frying.
  4. In a small saucepan or wok, preheat the vegetable oil to medium-high heat about 160°C-180°C (Fill the oil over 2 inches.)
  5. Fry the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oil after it begins to float and set it aside. It is important to fry it in batches; do not overcrowd the pan/wok; remove the fried crumbs with a mesh strainer after each batch of frying and reserve this bit and pieces into a small bowl for later purpose.
  6. RE-FRY: Add the fried chicken back into oil and fry for the second time for around 1-2 minutes, or until the coating is crispy. Drain from oil and transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels. (Alternatively, you can re-fry through AirFrying at 200°C for 3-5 minutes or just until crispy.)
  7. Fry the basil leaves in the remaining oil for 1 minute or just until it looks crispy. Upon serving, garnish these fried basil leaves on the chicken to add aroma and flavor.
  8. For Salt Spice Mix: Using a mortar and pestle, pound/grind the roasted Sichuan peppercorns and mix it with white pepper powder, salt, paprika powder and Fried Bits and pieces. Transfer into a small bowl or sprinkle it on top of the chicken upon serving. 
Salt Spice Mix - Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Recipe
Salt Salt Spice Mix – Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Recipe

Cooking Notes:

  • For Basil Leaves – should be dry before you fry it and avoid oil splatters (Pat dry or air dry).
  • For Sweet Potato Flour/Starch – Medium-thick sweet potato flour is ideal for this recipe but you can substitute it with potato starch or cornstarch. The sweet potato flour gives an extra flavor and texture.
  • ShaoXing Wine – is a Chinese cooking rice wine, you can omit it or substitute it with cooking wine, Japanese mirin or dry sherry. You can buy it online in Shopee, Lazada or Amazon. The flavor of this wine is so good to add in any of your cooking, you won’t regret buying one bottle which you can use in most of your sauté and cooking.
  • Chinese Five Spices (Ngohiong Powder) – This is widely sold in supermarkets in spices station or isle. It consists of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds powder. It has a warm distinct flavor
  • Sichuan Peppercorns – is a great addition to the salt seasoning mixture. Don’t worry, Black pepper can be used as a substitute for Sichuan peppercorns if you don’t like their numbing flavor.
  • Where can you buy these ingredients? ;All available in online stores, Lazada, Shopee, Amazon if you’re abroad, Chinese/Oriental grocery stores, supermarket Asian aisles.