Chicken nuggets are a favorite in any household with young kids. But we all know how unhealthy they can be and who knows what's really in them?!
There are times I cave and allow the boys to have chicken nuggets when we are at a restaurant just so I can eat in peace but then they ask for them non stop when we get home.
Unfortunately but fortunately we live in a rural area where you can't always find "halal" chicken nuggets. (Halal is following the Islamic form of slaughtering the animal). Luckily I went through a lot of trial and errors before finding the perfect recipe ratio in getting that deliciously crispy crust with juicy, seasoned REAL chicken on the inside.
So let's get started!
1 lb Boneless Chicken Breast
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp White Pepper (optional)
Salt to taste
1/2 c. Flour
4 tbsp Corn Starch
1/4 c. Milk
1/2 c. Flour
1 tbsp Corn Starch
3/4 c. Seltzer Water
You want to start by seasoning your chicken and grinding it. You can use preground chicken but I like to do this myself. The whipped air from the food processor give the chicken a nice fluffy texture I find the boys enjoy more.
Just throw your seasonings and chicken tenders or breast in and give it a nice pulse until ground.
Then using a mini ice cream scoop, scoop out the chicken mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Dab your fingertips in water and gently flatten the tops of the chicken to get that "chicken nugget" shape.
Now pop your nuggets into the freezer for ATLEAST 2 hours to set. You want your chicken nuggets to be solid so it's easy to coat them.
Once your chicken is frozen solid get your coating mixtures ready.
Coat 1: Corn Starch & Flour
Coat 2: Milk & Egg
Coat 3: Tempura batter
You want to start by first coating the nuggets in the flour and corn starch mixture then the milk and egg mixture then back in the flour mixture.
I like to make these two coatings first and coat the nuggets before I make the tempura batter.
Once your first two coatings are done whisk in the cold seltzer, also known as sparkling water to your second set of flour and 1tbsp of corn starch.
It doesn't have to be smooth. Just give it a rough whisk and dip in your nuggets.
As you're dipping your nuggets into the tempura batter have your oil ready for frying or if your baking have a lined greased baking sheet ready.
We will be baking/frying TWICE. The first cook is to just set the tempura batter. The second cook is to ensure the entire nugget cooks through.
The reason I add an "additional" tempura batter after coating in flour and egg is because you want that chewy taste chicken nuggets give but with the initial crisp which the tempura batter will give.
On the right is my baked and on the left is my fried.
At this point after the FIRST COOK you can let them complete cool and freeze and pull out and re-fry or bake as needed in batches.
Here I'm getting them ready for round two of cooking. You may fry them a second time but I like to let them cook through in the oven and they come out perfect.
If you were freezing them after the first round of cooking you will cook them the same way, no need to defrost! Just pop them on a sheet tray lined with a rack and cook them on 400'F for 15 to 20 mins or until golden brown. (If frozen just be sure to cook them slightly longer).
If you don't have a baking rack just flip them halfway to ensure crispness all the way around. Whether baked (right) or fried (left), your kids (and adults) will enjoy these deliciously crispy childhood favorites.
Make them for dinner, or a quick fix for school lunches! These are sure to be a favorite not just to the kids but for mamas because they are freezer friendly!
Makes about 20 Nuggets.