- Perfect for dipping
This fried chicken is crispy, moist, and flavorful.
6 slices gluten free white sandwich bread OR regular if you eat wheat
1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs or breast, cut into about 1 x 3 inch strips
Combine: 1 cup cornstarch, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dreid oregano, 1 tsp salt
Grape seed oil, as needed -- enough to cover 1/2 to 2/3 of the chicken height as it cooks in the pan (depends on size of pan you use)*
2 egg whites
Breadcrumbs - can make 1 week ahead and store in an air tight container.
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice the bread into 1 inch pieces, spread them out on a large baking sheet and toast until light golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once bread crumbs are completely cool and dry, pulse them in the food processor until the sizes are mostly rice kernel size with some more fine crumbs at the bottom. Place in a bowl with a few dashes of salt.
Chicken - can prepare 1 day ahead.
2. To prepare the chicken rinse, dry, and slice it. Whisk together the cornstarch, paprika, thyme, oregano, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Dredge chicken in mixture. Only touch the wet part of the chicken with one "wet" hand and the dry part of the chicken with the other hand to avoid getting doughy fingers and interfering with the dredging process (see “what I learned from this recipe” below). If your hands become dough-y, wash and dry them. Do your best to cover all areas of chicken with cornstarch and then gently shake off excess and place chicken on a rack (or on a dry plate). Allow chicken to rest for 1/2 hour (or over night) until most of the white is “gone" because it has absorbed liquid from the chicken. At this point, the chicken should be dry or only slightly damp to the touch.
3. Line 2 plates or a baking sheet with paper towels (where the cooked chicken can cool). In another bowl place 2 egg whites. Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a large, shallow pan over medium high heat. Dredge the chicken in the egg white and then in bread crumbs. Spoon bread crumbs over the chicken making sure it is completely covered. Then place in hot oil. Oil should be just hot enough that the chicken sizzles as it cooks. It is important to cook chicken completely. I usually cook them 6 minutes per side, depending on the size of the piece (or longer). They are usually done when the breading becomes a golden brown. (To be sure they are done, remove from oil and insert a thermometer. When it reads 165F they are cooked.)
4. Place the cooked chicken on the paper towel-lined plates, leaving 1-2 inches between pieces. If the pieces are crowded or touching each other, they will steam as they cool and lose their crispiness so be sure to give them space as they cool. Serve warm with ketchup or barbecue sauce. Re-heat leftovers in oven for crispiest results.
* You can substitute peanut, coconut or canola oil instead.
What I learned when making this dish (and other fried dishes):
- Choose a light, airy bread if that is the type of coating you prefer. I generally like to eat denser, whole grain breads, but for breading I choose gluten free white sandwich bread (like Glutino brand).
- Do not over toast the bread because you want the bread to do most of its cooking with the chicken in the oil. If the crumbs are already brown, they will become too dark and hard crunchy instead of a nice crispy outside.
- Grind the bread crumbs to uneven pieces. You want small pieces all the way to tiny pieces of bread crumbs (think rice kernel size to poppy seed size). These varying sizes help ensure that all of the surface area of the chicken is covered with bread crumbs. The large pieces make the majority of the crust while the small pieces fill in the spaces between them. This is why it also helps to gently place the chicken on the bread crumbs and then to flip it over and spoon crumbs over the top (the small bread crumbs usually sink to the bottom of the bread bowl so spoon them up and over the chicken will help small pieces fill the spaces between the larger bread crumbs on the chicken.)
- Allow the cornstarch to rest on the chicken. If you dip the chicken in the cornstarch and then the egg mixture, often the eggs mixture will “fall” off part of it if you have excess cornstarch on the chicken, which is easy to do. Allowing the cornstarch to rest, makes it less likely that there will be too much dry cornstarch.
- When breading the chicken, be sure to use one dry hand and one wet hand. You may be wondering what this means. When you bread food have you ever ended up with a dough-y mess on the ends of your fingers? You want to avoid this. This means the dough that should be sticking to your chicken is sticking to your fingers. If the dough comes off the chicken you may be left with parts of the chicken that are not covered properly, which can result in over-oily breading that is not crispy. The breading provides a layer around the chicken and you want it to be fully covered.