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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Grownup Chicken Nuggets

1.5 to 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
water and ice
1 bunch green onions, sliced and then chopped very fine
2 to 3 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 head of garlic, peeled and pressed through a garlic press
1 bunch culantro (preferred) or cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup (approximate) panko crumbs
3 cups peanut oil

First brine the chicken breast.  In a small amount of water over medium heat, dissolve the kosher salt and sugar.  Let the salt/sugar brine cool.  Meanwhile, rinse the chicken breast and place it in a ziplock bag inside of a large measuring cup or bowl.  When the brine has cooled a bit, add several handfuls of ice cubes to it.  Pour the brine and remaining ice cubes into the ziplock bag with the chicken.  Seal the bag and refrigerate for a few hours.

After 3 to 6 hours remove the chicken from the fridge, drain off the brine, and rinse the chicken.  Trim away any fat and other undesirable stuff from the chicken.  Cut the chicken into large squares and place in the freezer to firm for 1-2 hours. 

Meanwhile, prepare the green onion, garlic, ginger, and culantro or cilantro. 

Remove the now firm chicken from the freezer and drop into a food processor.  Pulse a couple of times to roughly grind the chicken.

Scrape the ground chicken from the food processor into a large mixing bowl and add the green onion, garlic, ginger, culantro or cilantro, and sesame oil.  Mix well with your hands.

Put the panko crumbs on a tray or large plate.  Use a tablespoon disher (recommended) or tablespoon to measure the chicken mixture into balls.  Working with about 5 chicken balls at a time, place them on the panko crumbs, roll around to coat well, and place the finished balls on a platter.  Continue until all the chicken mixture has been prepared into panko-coated balls.

Heat the peanut oil in a Dutch oven to approximately 300 degrees, measuring the temperature with a fat/candy thermometer.  (Try to keep the oil temperature above 280 degrees and below 350 degrees.)  Drop the chicken balls 10-15 at a time into the hot oil and fry approximately 4 minutes or until golden-brown.

Remove with a spider to a cooling rack. Continue until all chicken balls are fried.  Serve with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce for dipping.

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