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Asian Crispy Fried Chicken (Popcorn Chicken)


Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe

Adapted from: Martin Yan’s China


1 lb. boneless and skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs, cut into bite-size cubes
1 cup cornstarch
1 egg, beaten
Oil for deep-frying


1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 dashes ground white pepper


Add the five spice powder, sugar, salt, and white pepper. Stir well.

Add the chicken pieces and marinate in the fridge for 1 – 4 hours.

Heat up the oil into a wok for deep-frying. Dip the chicken nuggets in the beaten egg and then coat with the corn starch evenly. Deep-fry the chicken until they turn golden brown, remove from the oil and place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

Serve immediately and dip with your favorite chili sauce.

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30 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Wow looks great! I used to watch his cooking shows too, he’s always so cheerful and funny. Love using red fermented bean curd for marinades and stews. So fragrant and tasty.

  2. DailyChef

    I love getting this style of crispy fried chicken at Asian snack shops or boba places, but never have cooked it myself. Thanks for the recipe – now I can!

  3. David

    Although I have never seen Martin Yan these little morsels look absolutely delicious, and I especially love how they are wrapped in newspaper. Reminds me of how the street vendors sell little fried snacks in SE Asia.

  4. Geri

    Love chicken done many ways but Chinese is on the top of the list. Martin Yan is still one of my favorite TV chefs. Even though we do not see him like years ago he put down a good foundation for others to follow with his great kitchen skills and gift for connecting with the viewers. I’ll be shopping soon for the bean curd, can’t wait to test this great recipe. One last thing, years ago in the stone age of the 50’s we had a Chinese chef down the street who cooked “chicken chow mein” in a very large pot and it was very soup like. I believe his style was Cantonese. Now days most Asian restaurants here cook in a different way with the veggies being partly cooked in and out of the wok in seconds. I dream of finding a chef who prepares it the way I remember it as a child. Does anyone out there have the same dream ?

  5. Jenny

    Looks delicious! Fried foods are so tempting and alluringly good, aren’t they? Interesting presentation. Is this how it’s served by the Chinese vendors in Guangzhou or how did the newspaper-cone inspiration come about?
    Keep up the great work!

  6. I would take those crispy chicken bits over popcorn ANYDAY at the movie theater. :) Thanks for sharing yet another fabulous recipe, Bee.
    I never worked with red fermented bean curd before but you surely make me want to get some.

  7. ash

    tks a lot for sharing!! Just tried this last nite for dnr, it was very yummy! Do u hv the prawn paste chicken recipe to share as well? =)

  8. I remember doing just that, too — crowding around the TV with my family to watch Martin Yan go “Chop it up, Chop it up!” on public television.No one can wield a cleaver like he can. He has mad skills! ;)
    This crispy chicken looks heavenly. But then again, it’s hard not to adore any fried foods.

  9. Loves2cook

    I am making this with black bean & garlic eggplant, so I’m experimenting with this recipe, marinating the chicken in black bean & garlic paste with lime juice, sugar, rice wine vinegar & sesame oil & just coating it with corn starch, which will also thicken the eggplant sauce… will post results.

  10. Loves2cook

    The chicken was fabulous! Light & crispy, fried very quickly in the wok & wasn’t greasy at all. I’m sold on wok frying forever! I just dredged the chicken in corn starch (no eggs) because of the wetter marinade.

    My paring it with black bean & garlic eggplant, which was my idea, unrelated to this recipe, was perhaps not the best choice. Individually each was delicious, together the dish was a bit one-note, next time I will pair it with other vegetables.

  11. Ericka

    I still watch Martin Yan on local PBS stations. I loved Yan Can Cook when I was younger and I still love him. He is so enthusiastic and excited about his ingredients and recipes. He is infectious and helped develop my love of Asian cuisine. I have a special place in my heart (or tummy?) for Vietnamese and Thai dishes but love Japanese and Chinese as well. Just getting acquainted with Korean dishes and love all of the other Asian cultures dishes represented here and will definitely be trying many of them. Love this site and think you educate us non-Asian cooks very well in the traditions, techniques, ingredients and beauty of Asian dishes. Thank you so much.

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