Because I was craving S&P squid but I’m scared to cook squid. Seriously. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds.
This super crispy restaurant style Salt and Pepper Chicken Recipe is even better than takeout. Why? Because there’s no transit time for it to cool off and lose some of its crisp. It’s so much better when you can grab a piece immediately after it comes out of the oil and burn the ever loving crap right out of your mouth. Isn’t it?
I love, love, love salt and pepper squid and it’s always on the table when we go out for Chinese. I never order it when we get takeout though because it’s best fresh. It’s has very little tolerance for sitting around. So I decided to make it at home but then I remembered that I’m scared to cook squid. Totally convinced I’m going to turn it into rubber and bad squid is just, well, bad. So I took the same idea and used chicken instead (and tofu! more on that later), and it’s amazing. Salty, spicy, crispy… everything you want it to be.
This chicken is my baby step. Next time squid. Maybe.
Anything Special You Need to Know?
*Need a vegetarian option? When I made this I was serving dinner to both my vegetarian daughter and her vegetarian friend, so in addition to the chicken I cut up a block of tofu and prepared it exactly the same way. It worked perfectly and was really delicious.
*You may be tempted to skip the onion and the pepper and I’m here to tell you… don’t! The bite of the onion and the juicy peppers really make this dish sing.
*This chicken is salty (hence the name, duh), but I used sea salt. If you’re using table salt you might want to scale it back a bit.
*This recipe uses Chinese Five Spice Powder in it. If you don’t have it you can omit it. Or… you can make your own.
Salt and Pepper Chicken
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 egg white
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp five-spice powder
- Neutral oil for frying
- 1 white onion diced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced
- 3 green onions sliced
- Red pepper flakes or Szechuan pepper
- Toss the chicken pieces with the egg white.
- Mix together the cornstarch, salt, pepper and five-spice powder.
- Place the chicken in a large bowl and toss well with the cornstarch mixture.
- Heat about 1” of oil in a large, heavy skillet.
- Add the chicken to the oil in small batches and cook each 4-5 minutes until browned and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.
- Pour off all but about 2 Tbsp of the oil and add in the onion and pepper and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until slightly softened. Stir in the garlic and green onions. Cook 1 minute then season with salt, pepper and a pinch each of five-spice powder & red pepper flakes.
- Add the cooked chicken to the vegetables, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and serve.
Let me know what you think!
If you like this Salt and Pepper Chicken Recipe then please check out my Dragon Chicken Recipe and my Easy Skillet Cashew Chicken. They’re another couple of takeout fakeouts that I promise do not disappoint.