You will never need fried chicken again. Ever. This popcorn chicken is baked to perfection and has the most delicious textured crunchy crust you’ve ever experienced. Yes- this chicken is an experience. So chuck out the frying oil and bid Colonel Sanders adieu. Popcorn chicken is about to become your best friend.
Corn flakes are the hero here. They create a crisp and crunchy crust that has layers of texture. When blending them up don’t go wild and end up with powdered corn flakes. You want some variation. Some bits bigger than others and mostly the texture of what’s at the bottom of a bag of cereal. Crushed up crumbs. The buttermilk replaces a traditional egg wash to get everything to stick. Buttermilk is rich and tangy and adds more flavour while the acids in the buttermilk also tenderise the chicken. All this delicious crunch needs something to be dunked into and the smokey chipotle Tabasco and basil mayo is it! It’s creamy and delicious but refreshingly herby and gives you that BBQ, braai flavour of something cooked over coals.
Popcorn chicken with chipotle Tabasco & basil mayo
- 500g free-range chicken breasts
- 3 garlic cloves
- zest of 1 lemon
- 100g flour
- 100g cornflakes
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 15g freshly grated Parmesan
- freshly ground black pepper
- 100ml buttermilk
- chipotle Tabasco
- 2 free-range egg yolks
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 cup neutral oil
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- chipotle Tabasco to taste
For the mayonnaise: Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and mustard in a small container that fits the head of an immersion blender snugly. Blend until light and frothy. Begin pouring in a very thin stream of the neutral oil slowly while constantly blending. Once you have gone through about half of your oil you can speed up the pouring until you have your desired thickness. Now blend in the basil leaves and a healthy dollop of chipotle Tabasco and adjust seasoning. Keep in the fridge.
For the chicken: Slice the chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Place in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Finely grate over the garlic cloves and lemon zest, mix well. Leave to rest.
Place the flour in a mixing bowl and preheat the oven to 200˚C.
Combine the cornflakes, paprika, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until chunky different textures of crumbs have formed. Place this mixture into another bowl.
Add the seasoned chicken into the bowl with the flour and coat well.
Mix the buttermilk and a dash of chipotle Tabasco in another bowl. Add the floured chicken pieces to this and coat evenly.
Finally coat the buttermilk chicken with the cornflake mixture. Place the chicken pieces on a baking tray lined with foil and brushed with olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Serve with the homemade mayo and a wedge of lime.
*Disclaimer- this post has been sponsored by the awesome folks at Tabasco SA