Yan Su Ji

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

5 from 3 votes
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This homemade Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken or salt pepper chicken (鹽酥雞 Yan Su Ji) are so scrumptious and crackly bits all over. Bring the night market to your home when you miss it!
Servings: 5
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes


  • 3 chicken breasts or chicken thigh fillets


  • 2 garlic cloves finely grated
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Mirin *see notes
  • 1 tbsp ShaoXing wine or dry sherry (*see notes)
  • 1 tsp sweet potato starch or Tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp 5-spice powder * see notes
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar


  • 2 eggs + add 3 tbsp water
  • 2 cups sweet potato starch


  • A handful of fresh Thai basil leaves

Mixed Salt for Seasoning:

  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp 5 spice powder
  • 1 tbsp white pepper
  • a pinch of chilli powder


  • Cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks and place in large bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients and add the mixture into the chicken, toss well. Set aside and refrigerate for 20 minutes or overnight.
  • When ready to cook, place the eggs in a bowl, add 3 tbsp of water and whisk with fork. Place the sweet potato starch in a separate bowl.
  • Using chopstick (or a tong), dip the chicken first into the egg mixture, then toss in the sweet potato starch and coat evenly. Shake off excess starch.
  • Heat the oil in the wok, when oil reached 150 degree C, scatter the basil leaves and stir for about 20 seconds until the basil leaves turn translucent and crisp. Remove from the wok and drain. Set aside.
  • Increase the heat of oil to 170 C and fry the coated chicken in batches for about 2-3 minutes (do not overcrowd the wok) or until golden brown. Regularly skimming any floating flour bits from the oil.
  • Place the cooked chicken in a wire rack lined with paper towel to drain the oil.
  • While the cooked chicken are still hot, sprinkle or season with a good pinch of Spiced Mixed Salt. Serve immediately and garnish with fried basil leaves.


1.) 5-spice powder (五香粉) is an ingredient commonly used in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine and encompasses all five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. You can find this at your neighborhood Asian market.
2.) Mirin (味醂 or みりん) [miɾiɴ] is a Japanese sweet rice wine that lends mild acidity to a dish. It is similar to sake, but is lower in sugar and alcohol, and provides a nice contrast when used with saltier sauces, like soy or Tamari. Available in any Asian stores.
3.) ShaoXing wine is known as a traditional Chinese cooking wine made from fermented rice. It tastes much like dry sherry, which can be used as a substitute. Available at any Asian markets as well.
Nutrition Facts
Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 359 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1824mg79%
Potassium 35mg1%
Carbohydrates 87g29%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 42IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Appetizer, snacks
Asian, Taiwanese
Keywords: chicken popcorns, Chinese popcorn chicken, Popcorn chicken recipe, popcorn chicken Taiwanese, Taiwanese fried chicken, Taiwanese popcorn chicken