Are you a big fan of contrasting flavors like sweet and savory? Or sweet and spicy? I do love a pleasant joining of opposites. Popcorn chicken with pineapple bourbon sauce is a fun combination of savory, and maybe a little spicy, depending on how much cayenne pepper you want, with sweet pineapple and brown sugar.
Just a few short years ago, I thought chicken and waffles was a bit on the unusual side. Juicy chicken with a crispy outside and spices that remind me of the baked chicken of my childhood. The chicken with the crunchy bits that we bought from the frozen food section and served with mashed potatoes and some sort of vegetable.
Serve that with waffles and syrup? It sounded like a prank at first, but it was surprisingly exciting to try for the first time. And the second. And so on.
I like bacon and scrambled eggs served on the same plate as pancake and syrup, so sweet and savory works well with me.
Popcorn chicken with pineapple bourbon sauce is an appetizer inspired by chicken and waffles. Stick a few skewers in the chicken, and let everyone dig in!
This popcorn chicken is the recipe for fried chicken I like to use when I make chicken and waffles or just fried chicken with mashed potatoes. The outside is so crunchy and the inside is well-seasoned.
The fried chicken recipe is inspired by Jamaicaway’s Chutney Chicken, which I saw on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives back in 2011, I believe. I love the idea of using the same ingredients in the dry mix as the wet batter.
Seasoning the chicken before coating really helps add flavor so the chicken by itself is pretty awesome. The pineapple bourbon sauce just takes it to a whole new level with the sweetness. Try something a little different and make this appetizer for your next big get together!
Popcorn Chicken Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning the chicken
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 3/4 pounds chicken breast
- oil, for frying
You'll need two medium sized bowls. One will be for a thick batter to coat the chicken and the other will be for a dry mix to dip the chicken after coating into the batter.
Divide the flour, panko, garlic salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder and onion powder equally into the two bowls.
In the bowl for the batter add the water. You should end up with a very thick batter.
Stir the bowl of dry ingredients to evenly combine the spices.
Cut the chicken breasts into cubes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Preheat a pot with oil. I get a crispy outside by frying the chicken in just enough oil to cover the pieces, more like a deep fry instead of a shallow pan fry.
Grab a large plate or platter and line with paper towels or a clean lint free towel.
Dip enough cubes of chicken for one frying batch into the batter, then dip them in the flour mixture.
Fry until the outside is a light golden brown color and crispy, then carefully remove the chicken from the oil and drain on the prepared plate. Turn over the pieces of chicken after a couple minutes.
After all the chicken is fried and drained, transfer to a serving plate.
You can pour the pineapple bourbon sauce on top or serve it on the side.
- When I make this recipe, there is just enough batter to coat 1 3/4 pounds of chicken. There's a good chance you'll have leftover dry mixture.
- Cut your chicken pieces as close to the same size as possible.
- On my stove medium high heat works well for my large pot and oil level. By the time my chicken pieces are a beautiful light brown they're cooked all the way through.
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Le Creuset 6.75 Qt French Oven
Le Creuset 4.5 Qt Round French Oven
Le Creuset French Oven - 5 1/2 Quart
Inspired by Jamaicaway’s fried chicken
Pineapple Bourbon Sauce Recipe
- 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, including the juice
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons bourbon, or rum
Place all three ingredients in a pot and cook on the stove top for 30 minutes over medium heat.
Continue to simmer on low for another 15-20 minutes.
Le Creuset 3-quart Stainless Steel Saucepan
Le Creuset Revolution Spatula