4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 pound)
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne, divided
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup milk (any type works)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup panko
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups neutral oil, such as sunflower seed or peanut
Honey sriracha glaze
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons sriracha, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, plus more to taste
1 pinch salt
- In a bowl, season the chicken thighs with a hefty pinch each of salt and, black pepper, plus the garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.
- Add 2/3 cup of flour to a medium bowl or plate. Whisk the milk, eggs, vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cayenne in a medium bowl. Stir the panko, cornstarch, 1/2 cup of flour, a pinch of salt, the baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl.
- Add 1/4 cup of the egg mixture to the panko mixture and roughly stir it in with a fork or your hands. You should end up with tiny clumps of dough that will get extra crispy when fried. If you find large clumps, simply break them apart.
- Working one at a time, dip a chicken thigh in the 2/3 cup of flour, making sure it’s evenly coated, then shake off the excess flour. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then dredge it in the panko mixture, pressing firmly to fully coat. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs.
- Heat the oil in a deep pan over medium high heat until it reaches 350°F (175°C), or until it sizzles once you drop in a tiny crumb of panko. Gently place 1 to 2 chicken thighs in the oil, depending on the size of your pan. Fry for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown all over. Reduce the heat to medium or medium low after frying the first batch. Place the fried chicken on a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining thighs.
- Once all the chicken is fried, combine the honey, sriracha, cayenne, and a salt in a bowl. Taste and increase the sriracha and cayenne if needed. Lightly brush each piece of fried chicken with the honey glaze.
Serve the fried chicken as is. Or, if you’d like, sandwich it between toasted buns with some sriracha mayo, lettuce, and sliced mango.
The best part of this fried chicken? Has to be the crust. We’re using a clever mixture of flour, cornstarch, panko, and a couple rising agents, all of which will lead us to perfectly crispy chicken. If you don’t want to use chicken thighs, you can swap in horizontally halved chicken breasts; just adjust the cook time depending on their thickness. Lacquering the chicken with a sweet, spicy honey sriracha glaze takes everything to the next level.
You could serve this chicken alongside a giant salad. Or turn it into a sandwich with toasted buns, sriracha mayo, crunchy lettuce, and a few slices of mango. The slightly tart, sweet, and juicy mango really is the perfect accompaniment. —Carolina Gelen