Lately, I have been craving chicken nuggets. Not the nasty, strangely textured chicken nuggets of your youth, but delicious, lightly fried, juicy chicken nuggets. Breading is normally a pain, but this recipe minimizes the steps with a simple batter. Using chicken thighs is essential, as chicken breasts tend to dry out. Pair with your favorite dipping sauce and potato chips for an indulgent and nostalgic meal.
This recipe will feed four people with normal appetites, or two very hungry boys.
1.5 lb. chicken thighs, skinned and deboned
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper*
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Seltzer water, enough to make medium thin batter (about 3/4 cup – but increase by tablespoons as necessary)
Canola oil for deep frying
1. Cut chicken thighs into small cubes, about 1.5″ by 1.5″
2. For the batter, mix all dry ingredients together, then slowly add in seltzer, whisking as you go. Note that you may not need all the seltzer, and the batter should be thick and without clumps.
3. When the batter is ready, stir in prepared chicken. Let sit for a moment.
4. While chicken is setting, heat 1/2 c. canola oil in heavy bottomed pan.
5. Test temperature of oil by spooning drop of batter into pan. The oil is ready when the batter floats.
6. Fry nuggets in batches of four or five at a time, about one to two minutes per side. Nuggets are ready when golden. Do not crowd the pan or the temperature of the oil will drop!
7. Drain cooked nuggets on paper towel, then place in oven heated to 350 to keep crisp and warm while others are frying.
The variations to this recipe are endless- you can add whatever herbs or spices you like to the batter, and you can also substitute corn meal for flour. If you want to get extra crazy, you can substitute beer for seltzer or swap in another protein for fish.
*black pepper is fine in lieu of white pepper