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Chicken Tempura

I love chicken fingers from my local Chinese restaurant. However, when I order from there I end up getting the chicken fingers, the shrimp, the teriyaki chicken, the teriyaki beef, crab Rangoon, egg rolls both vegetable and pork filled, fried rice, fried wonton strips, and orange chicken. In other words, it is quite the extravagance in terms of monetary and caloric cost. 

This is why I like to make these sorts of things at home. I do not pretend they are any healthier, but if I take the effort to make a whole batch of chicken tempura myself, I am less likely to wolf all of them down, and I would certainly never have the energy to whip up all of the other aforementioned goodies in a single night for a single dinner. Plus, all the effort makes them taste especially delicious.

It took me a while to find the perfect batter, one that is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I also had to experiment with oil temperature, and frying time, plus the thickness of the chicken. Thin strips fried in 350 degree F oil for 5 minutes yields the best results for me; fully cooked chicken and delicious, crunchy fluffy batter. Give this a try!

2 pounds of chicken, sliced into thin strips
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
2 cups water 
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Peanut, corn, vegetable or canola oil, for deep frying

Either in a deep fryer or dutch oven fitted with a deep fry thermometer, preheat your oil to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together the ingredients until you have a smooth batter. Salt and pepper the chicken tenders. Dip each tender into the batter, then drop into the oil. Fry for 5 minutes, until deeply golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined baking tray to drain the excess oil, and  then place on a baking tray in a 200 degree F oven to keep warm. Serve with duck sauce, sweet chili sauce, honey mustard sauce, chipotle aioli, barbeque sauce or even ketchup- Enjoy!


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