It was only a matter of time where there was some kind of crispy, spicy goodness up on this blog. We’re starting with chicken! We’re huge fans of chicken fingers. No matter how old we get or how many Michelin stars have been eaten, they’re still #1 in our book. We’re not talking about something from Applebee’s or Chili’s – we like the good stuff. Good crust to meat ratio and something super delicious to dip in. Dipping is an integral part of the chicken experience. My absolute favorite are the ‘tenders’ at Crisp in Chicago; if you want to make me a happy lady, get me those. Diana can be wooed with the buttermilk fried chicken at Bouchon Bistro. Crispy chicken forgives a multitude of sins.
Why not fancy chicken fingers, you ask? Let’s get technical: these guys are definitely nuggets, not fingers, which are really made from the “tenderloin,” the pectoralis minor muscle that sits on the back of the chicken breast. Those are special – only two per bird! In the interest of making it easier on everyone, you can use either breast or thigh meat, cut them in 2-inch cubes are you’re set. Plus, in smaller iterations, they’re better to dip! These little guys are lovingly inspired by Diana’s go-to sambal chicken skewers and my discovery of Chick-fil-a after moving out of New York. If we’re being honest here, “CFA” makes a damn good nugget. Ours have way more going on, flavor-wise AND you can eat them on a Sunday! You’re welcome.
ab + DZ
- 2 tablepoons sambal oelek
- ¼ cup sugar - We used coconut sugar, but you do you… artificial sweeteners won’t ruin the party, here.
- ¼ cup orange juice - half an orange should do the trick
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 ½ pound boneless skinless chicken cut in 2-inch cubes – we’re into thighs, but you can certainly get breasts, instead.
- 1 cup rice flour
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup grapeseed or other high-heat oil
- In a gallon-sized zip top bag, add all ingredients through chicken cubes. Move everything around in the bag and marinate for at least an hour or overnight. When you’re ready for snacktime, remove from the bag, reserving the marinade. Season the rice flour with salt and pepper. Shake excess marinade from chicken and dredge in seasoned rice flour. This will create a thin, crisp exterior. In a medium, preferably nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the chicken nuggets in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side aside. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
- In a small saucepan, simmer marinade to reduce, creating your spicy dipping sauce. Sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about the consistency of warm honey. Eat immediately. If you eat them all yourself, you don’t have to worry about double dipping.