Crispy chicken nuggets
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1 hour and 40 minutes
- 1 to 1.5 pounds ground chicken meat (thigh or breast or a combination of the two)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon MSG (optional)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1⁄4 cup potato starch or corn starch
- 145 grams potato starch (3/4 cup)
- 190 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 3 grams baking powder (1 teaspoon)
- 3 grams salt (1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 410 grams water (1 3/4 cup)
- peanut oil or canola oil for frying (at least 2 inches up the side of your pot)
Grind your own chicken in a food processor or meat grinder. You can also purchase ground chicken from the store if you can find it. If you've never processed ground chicken before and you own a food processor, chop the meat into small 1/2-inch pieces and add to a food processor, pulse until you have a paste of chicken with no large pieces.
Grab a small bowl and pour 1/2 to 1 cup of water in it. You will be using this to dip your hands/fingers in while you're shaping nuggets and the water helps your hands to not stick to the chicken as much.
In a large bowl add chicken, sugar, salt, MSG, garlic powder and onion powder. Wet your hands and use them to mix up all the chicken and spices. Your hands are the best tool for this, and you will have to use them again in shaping your nuggets.
Once everything is combined it is time to shape. I found that a heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture is about the amount you would find at McDonald's or other fast-food locations, but you can make your shapes larger if you want.
Line a sheet pan with parchment and spray with non-stick baking spray if you want. This will help the nuggets not stick to the surface as much, but it's optional. Take a portion of chicken mixture and scoop it onto the parchment. With wet hands, you can shape the chicken mixture into a nugget shape. Do this until you run out of chicken mixture. I found that you'd want your raw chicken nuggets to be about a quarter to a half inch thick.
Once your nuggets are formed, they need to go into the freezer to firm up. You can freeze them for an hour and then if you want, you can remove them from the sheet pan and package them up in freezer safe bags and store in the freezer until you plan to use them. I wouldn't store them for more than a few months, but a couple of weeks in the freezer should be just fine.
When you are ready to fry your nuggets, add at least 2 inches of oil to a large pot and add to medium-high heat on your stove. Now you need to make the dredge and batter.
Add 1/4 of a cup of potato starch or corn starch in a small bowl. This is your dredge.
Add the other 3/4 of a cup of potato or corn starch into a large bowl with the all-purpose flour, black pepper, baking soda, paprika, cayenne powder and stir all these dry ingredients to combine. Add the water and stir well to combine everything into a loose pancake-like batter.
Once your oil is heated up to 350 degrees F, you're ready to fry and it's time to dredge and batter and fry.
Remove the raw chicken nuggets from the freezer and working in batches of 4 or 5, coat each nugget first in the dry potato/corn starch and then dunk each one into the batter until it is fully coated. Your goal here is to have no bald spots of either the dredge or the batter. I like to use two forks to move nuggets from the dredge to the batter and then into the frying oil. Two forks seem to give me the best opportunity to batter without scraping off all the wet batter.
Immediately move the nugget very carefully into the hot oil and fry for at least 4 minutes or until the nuggets are golden brown.
Remove nuggets to a cooling rack over a sheet pan or a paper towel lined plate. Use the same process to finish frying the rest of your chicken nuggets.
Serve with sauce for dipping.