Taiwanese Fried Chicken

Taiwanese Fried Chicken

Taiwanese Fried Chicken, The Double Happiness Cookbook by Trevor Lui. Photography by Suech + Beck.

The Double Happiness Cookbook: 88 Feel-Good Recipes and Food Stories

Toronto is a renowned food mecca, born out of a cultural identity defined by the unified culinary tradition of a vibrant multicultural community. It is a city that has shaped and defined one passionate chef who abandoned his corporate job to throw on an apron and to get into the kitchen, behind the bar, and in front of diners.

Almost immediately, his Taiwanese fried chicken was voted best in the city, fans queued for his notorious ramen burger, and his sensational Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich brought in the masses.

The Double Happiness Cookbook is a riveting exploration of Trevor Lui’s tireless culinary journey that began in the kitchen of a family restaurant with sweet and sour chicken balls and chow mein and eventually drew inspiration from the streets of Toronto, LA, New York, and Taiwan.

Featuring feel-good, Asian-inspired recipes with a big-city attitude—think BBQ pork on rice, bulgogi beef tostadas, sweet chili cauliflower wings, and ramen with L.A. Kalbi—this heartening cookbook is an authentic celebration of heritage, community, street culture, and food philosophy. It is eighty-eight recipes, eight compelling stories, and one man’s dream.

The Double Happiness Cookbook: 88 Feel-Good Recipes and Food Stories is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.  

Taiwanese Fried Chicken (AKA “The Original TFC”)

This fried bird garnered acclaim, fame, and accolades in its lifetime, and not a week goes by without someone asking me about this infamous dish. We took an original Taiwanese flavour profile, added Western flair, and even made it gluten-free. Traditionally, at Taiwanese night markets, it is served as a boneless cutlet in a paper bag, but I’ve opted for southern style with side dishes and cold beer. My preferred pairing is an ice-cold Daura Damm for a completely gluten-free experience.

Serves 3–4

Prep 10 min, plus at least 2 hr resting time
Cook 20 min

Rubbed chicken
8–10 pieces chicken, drumsticks, thighs, and/or backs separated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

½ cup cornstarch
½ cup tapioca starch ¾ cup custard powder (such as Bird’s)
½ Tbsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 egg

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp salt
4 bird’s eye chiles, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
6–8 sprigs cilantro, chopped
½ lemon, cut into wedges
Thai sweet chili sauce, to serve (optional)

Rubbed chicken Rub chicken with salt and pepper, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably up to 8 hours.

Batter Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add egg and 1 cup water and, using your hands, mix thoroughly. Add chicken and mix to thoroughly coat.

Assembly Heat oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan over high heat to 375°f. Using a metal slotted spoon, carefully lower battered chicken pieces into the oil, submerging them. Deep-fry for 8–10 minutes, until the centre of the chicken, has an internal temperature of 180°f. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, white pepper, and salt and toss well. (For maximum flavour, first fry salt and pepper in a pan over high heat for 5–6 minutes, until fragrant.)

Transfer to a platter and garnish with chiles, spring onions, and cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges and sweet chili sauce (if using).

Recipe reprinted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing Inc.

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