Cantonese-style crispy fried chicken tacos with smashed cucumber

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This delicious dish is based on Cantonese fried chicken, in which chicken is poached in an aromatic broth, coated in a sticky glaze and deep-fried to crispy perfection. Here, Pollyanna serves the chicken in a taco with refreshing smacked cucumber.

First published in 2018




Aromatic poaching stock

Smacked cucumber

To serve

  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 handful of coriander


  • Deep fat fryer


To begin, prepare the chicken thighs by cutting each into 3 pieces
Place all ingredients for the poaching stock (apart from the cornflour) in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn down to a simmer, add the chicken and gently poach for 10–12 minutes
Remove the chicken and set aside. Turn up the heat and reduce the poaching liquor to a syrup. Once you get to single cream consistency, add the cornflour paste to thicken to a glossy glaze
Brush the chicken with some of the glaze then leave to air-dry
Preheat a deep-fryer or deep pan of oil to 180°C
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
Smash the cucumber with the bottom of a pan or the side of a large, heavy knife. Dice into 1cm cubes, place in a colander and sprinkle over the salt. Gently mix then set aside in the fridge for 10 minutes
In the meantime, toast the sichuan pepper and chilli flakes in a hot dry pan until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush to a course powder. Toast the sesame seeds then mix with the crushed spices. Combine the spices with the cucumber along with the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil
Deep-fry the chicken pieces until golden brown, then brush with more of the glaze
To assemble the tacos, brush the centre of each tortilla with some of the glaze. Add some small sprigs of coriander then top with the chicken pieces and some smashed cucumber

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