Spicy Fried Chicken Bites aka Chicken Pakora

Growing up spicy fried chicken pakoras were a staple every time we went to eat at a Hakka Indian Chinese restaurant. For those of you from Toronto, Federicks is our go to spot. Hakka Indian Chinese food is a fusion of Indian and Chinese cuisines – It has the spiciness and flavor profile of Indian food merged with the wok hei (or wok flavor) of Chinese food. I think it’s the best fusion you can get (a completely biased opinion). 

We recently had some take out chicken pakoras, by the time you get it home, it’s just not the same. Local restaurants here are still closed due to the virus. To feed my craving, we tried making it ourselves and it’s super simple. To make it even easier we used the sous vide to take out any guess work, just as we did with our sous vide Korean Fried Chicken recipe. In addition, you’re frying for a much shorter time so it makes you “feel like” it’s going to be “healthier” (this is up for debate… but the taste of it is worth it). You’ll also know that the chicken is going to be tender and super juicy everytime. 

In terms of flavor we used about 10 green chillies. It wasn’t too spicy, closer to a mild/medium but all the flavors together really made it come together. The coriander leaves also added a fresh taste to it. We also used chickpea flour also known as besan which gave it a unique nutty flavor and a very good crisp. These things were just so good, we literally finished a bunch of them even before taking the pictures. These are definitely a crowd pleasing appetizer – try them for your next gathering. 

Look at all those bits and pieces of chillies and coriander leaves. Extra flavor bombs!

In terms of equipment, you’ll need something to fry the chicken bites in. My choice is the cast iron pan, I find that it gets hotter quicker, stays hotter, and gets back to temperature faster. The chicken is already cooked, so you’re just trying to get a nice colour in the shortest amount of time possible. Also, please, please, fry them in batches. You want the oil to stay hot, a few extra minutes will mean a much better result, actually you’ll probably finish in the same amount of time. I split my 2lbs into 3 batches. I let the excess oil drip out over a wire rack and rimmed baking sheet. 


Spicy Fried Chicken Bites aka Chicken Pakoras

Fried chicken pakora is one of Kevin’s favorite dishes. Juicy, flavorful, and with a good kick of spice, it’s a must order when we eat at Hakka restaurants. We use the sous vide to take out the guesswork when frying the chicken nuggets.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese, Hakka, Indian
Keyword: appetizer, chicken, chicken recipes, chinese, fried chicken, indian, sous vide

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Chicken Thighs
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 3 tbsp Pickle Juice

Batter

  • 1 tbsp Garlic finely chopped, grated, or paste
  • 1 tbsp Ginger finely chopped, grated, or paste
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • ¼ cup Coriander Leaves chopped
  • 2 tsp Green Chilli chopped (adjust to your own taste)
  • 1 Scallion chopped
  • ¾ cup Chickpea Flour or All Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Liquid from Sous Vide Bag or Water

To Serve

  • Coriander Leaves
  • Lemon Wedges

Instructions

  • Set sous vide to 150F
  • Cut chicken thighs into bite size pieces. We did approximately 1”x2”.
  • Place the chicken into a ziplock or vacuum seal bag along with the Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon of Garam Masala, and 3 tablespoons of pickle juice.
  • Sous vide the chicken for 1.5 – 2 hours.
  • Once the chicken is done, place the chicken into a bowl and salt to taste. You don’t have to worry too much about drying them. Set the bag liquid aside, we will use it again later.
  • Heat a cast iron pan with oil on medium high heat. Heat to 375-400F
  • To the bowl, add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander leaves, green chillies, scallion, chickpea powder, cornstarch, and baking powder. Also add about a half cup of the cooking liquid or water.
  • Mix together, adding more water if required. You want it to be thick enough to coat the chicken but not dripping off. Make sure each piece is completely and evenly coated.
  • Carefully drop one piece at a time into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. This amount will probably need 3 batches.
  • Remove the chicken from the oil and place onto a wired baking sheet to drip any excess oil. Continue frying the rest of the chicken.
  • Serve with additional coriander leaves and a squeeze of lemon.

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