3 chicken breasts, halved lengthways
1 tsp chilli powder
2 cups potato starch
1 cup Thai basil leaves
vegetable oil for deep frying
Mixed pepper powder:
2 tsp white peppercorns
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin*
½ tsp Chinese 5-spice (try my homemade version here)
½ tsp potato starch*
For the mixed pepper powder, use a mortar and pestle to grind the peppercorns to a fine powder.
Take 2 tablespoons of the mixed pepper powder and mix it with 1 tbsp of sea salt and the chilli powder. Set the chilli salt aside for later.
Place the remainder of the mixed pepper powder and place it in a large bowl. Add the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well.
Use a rolling pin or meat mallet to pound the chicken breast pieces to an even thickness. Then cut into bite-sized chunks. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss well.
Fill a wok or deep frying pan to about 1/3 capacity with the vegetable oil. Heat over high heat. The oil is hot enough when a wooden spoon dipped into the oil forms small little bubbles. Place the eggs into a large bowl and whisk with two tablespoons of water. Coat each chicken piece in the egg and then in the potato starch. Shake off the excess starch. Cook the chicken in batches in the hot oil for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through and crispy. Drain on paper towel.
Add the basil leaves to the hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes or until crispy. Drain those on paper towel.
Layer the chicken pieces and crispy basil leaves on a serving plate. Serve hot.
– Mirin is a type of sweet Japanese rice wine.
– You can use regular Italian basil if Thai basil is unavailable.