Who doesn’t like chicken nuggets? Bite-sized pieces of chicken with a crispy-crunchy exterior, dipped into your sauce of choice (mine is good old barbecue). Unfortunately, the fast-food kind is quite unhealthy, and there’s even a question of whether they are even made of real chicken at all. Luckily, chicken nuggets is actually very easy to make at home – and having control over what goes into it, as well as substituting baking for frying, gives it a healthier twist.
For this week’s inspiration, I’ve chosen five recipes – two are for popcorn chicken, but they’re quite close to nuggets that I included them.
The basic recipe calls for chicken cut into bite-sizes pieces (around an inch, though expect it to get smaller after being cooked). To give it the appearance of the fast-food variety, pound it thin; leave it as-is for a more popcorn look. At this point, the pieces can go through the breading process, but as an alternative – and to add some more flavor – the chicken can be marinated in a mixture of oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and sugar; or milk, garlic, thyme, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. If you choose to marinade it, leave it to soak up the flavors for 1-4 hours or overnight.
Next is the breading process, and here is where there is a variety of suggestions. Take your pick. My suggestion is to use something that would give crispiness to it, such as flour, breadcrumbs, or – a suggestion I found creative – cornflakes or rice krispies; then a flavoring, whether it be your choice of herbs or cheese; and a binder, such as egg, milk, or olive oil.
- flour, egg, cornflakes + parmesan + paprika
- flour, egg + milk, rice krispies + cheddar + parmesan
- buttermilk + garlic powder, breadcrumbs + parmesan
- egg + mustard + garlic powder, Italian-style breadcrumbs
- olive oil, whole wheat breadcrumbs + panko + parmesan
Bake in the oven, turning the chicken halfway through so the other side gets crispy-brown as well.
You can enjoy them as-is, or dipped in tomato ketchup, barbecue sauce, tartar sauce, honey mustard or ranch sauce… or basically, any sauce you prefer.