CHILI CHICKEN

Ahhh… the Earls Classic: Chili Chicken. This has been a favourite of mine for forever. In fact, I don’t think I’ve gone to Earls and ordered anything but Chili Chicken, maybe, ever? I’ve made this rendition a few times and thought it was too good NOT to share.

I like to my Chili Chicken with a ton of cucumbers and a heaping scoop of steamy coconut rice. I’d say this recipe is relatively easy, aside from the frying itself. I RARELY fry any food, so it’s not something I really love to do and find it quite stressful if I’m perfectly honest. But since I was going for the Earls taste here – frying was the only way to achieve that restaurant-quality taste.

Recipe for Chili Chicken

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • For the sauce:
  • 3/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes (or more for added heat)
  • For the Chicken:
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt, divided
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ an English cucumber, thinly sliced (use a mandoline slicer if you have one)
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp sesame seeds for garnish
  • For the Rice:
  • 1 can (400ml) of Coconut milk
  • 400ml of water
  • 400ml of basmati or jasmine rice, rinsed well

Preparation:

  1. Make the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the all purpose flour, garlic powder, paprika, 1/2 tsp of seasoning salt and ground black pepper.
  3. In another bowl, beat two eggs and set aside. Dredge the cubed chicken in the egg mixture followed by the flour mixture. Shake off any excess and set aside while you preheat the oil and start the rice.
  4. For the rice: Bring the coconut milk, water and rinsed rice to a boil over medium heat, cover and cook over low heat according to package directions, typically 15 or so minutes.
  5. In a dutch oven or another deep pan, pour enough oil that it comes up to 1 – 1.5 inch on the side. Preheat the oil over high heat until it reaches 350 – 375 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometre, this is a simple test you can do to see if your oil is at an appropriate temperature: When the oil has preheated for about 5 minutes, dip the handle of a wooden spoon or a chopstick into the oil. If the oil starts steadily bubbling, then the oil is hot enough for frying. If the oil bubbles very very vigorously, then the oil is too hot and needs to cool off a touch.
  6. Once the oil has reached a temp of between 350 – 375F, working in about two batches, fry the first batch (flipping once) until golden brown on the outside and reaching an internal temperature of 165 F – about 5-6 minutes total per batch. Remove from the oil and place on a cooling rack for 2-3 minutes and season with the remaining 1/2 tsp of seasoning salt (tip: when frying anything – avoid cooling on paper towel or parchment as this will make it soggy. Instead, opt for something that will allow the oil to drain off, like a rack of any kind).
  7. Discard the used oil and pour the sauce into the dutch oven or a new saute pan altogether (up to you). Add chicken, cucumbers, and green onion and saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Serve on it’s own or over coconut rice and top with sesame seeds. Enjoy right away!