• Side
  • 3
  • 2 hours plus time for the chicken to marinate overnight

This recipe for Taiwanese fried chicken and hot sauce used to be a closely guarded secret at BAO - until they decided share the details of everything in their cookbook BAO. Check out the recipe below for insanely crispy fried chicken and addictive hot sauce. This recipe makes 850ml hot sauce, which will last in the fridge for 3 months.

This recipe is taken from BAO by Erchen Chang, Shing Tat Chung and Wai Ting Chung (Phaidon, £29.95). Photography courtesy of Pascal Grob.

First published in 2023

The BAO team say: 'Taiwanese fried chicken! I have so many childhood memories of eating this with friends at night markets, and it was one of the three items we sold when we first started BAO as a market stall, along with the Classic Pork BAO and the Daikon BAO. These memories of fried chicken have now been replaced with memories and stories involving our pursuit of perfecting BAO’s fried chicken over the years. Right from the beginning we had spreadsheets full of marinade timings and frying stages that we tested to get the juiciness and crispiness we wanted. We discovered that there was a certain amount of time you could keep the flour on the meat and a specific way to coat the chicken with the flour using a flick of your palm. This journey made us very protective of the recipe.'

'So many people would quiz us, trying to find out the flour and the spice mix we used, especially in our market days. There weren’t many Taiwanese restaurants back then, so it wasn’t readily available information. The lengths we went to keep the fried chicken coating a secret … we would have the flour delivered to another location or beat the staff to the delivery so we could hide it and empty the small packets into clear containers when everyone had left. The spice and marinade mix were the hardest to keep doing in secret – it was only a couple of years ago that we had that moment, looking at each other, lab coats on, rubber gloves on, masks on, on a hot summer day in an unventilated office, when we asked ourselves, Why are we still doing this every week? That powder in large volumes really gets up your nose! At that, we decided we had had enough and eventually moved the process to an external producer with a signed NDA. But now, after all that secrecy, it is here for you to see.'

'This hot sauce recipe used to be such a closely guarded secret that I would go into the restaurant on Sunday nights, after all the other chefs had left, to finish it. It was only recently that I stopped doing this. Now here we are, offering the recipe up to the world. We’ve come a long way. You can also buy our hot sauce from our shop.'

Tip: The double-fry technique for the chicken pieces gives the coating extra crispiness while ensuring that the centre remains incredibly juicy. If you are feeling lazy, then just deep-fry the chicken once for 4 minutes at 180°C/350°F, or until a cube of ginger sizzles and browns in 10 seconds. It won’t have quite the same super-crispy texture but it will still be juicy.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

For the hot sauce

For the marinated chicken

For the spiced flour mix

  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Method

1

In a large non-reactive bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the marinated chicken except the chicken. Add the chicken pieces, stir to coat, cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator overnight. If you are in a hurry, marinate for 1 hour at room temperature

2

For the hot sauce, first sterilise your jars. Pour about 2.5 cm (1 inch) water into a large saucepan. Place a steam tray on top (the top of the tray should sit just above the waterline)

3

Place your jars and lids upside down on the tray and bring the water to a gentle boil for about 15 minutes. This should generate enough steam inside each jar and lid to sterilise them

4

Carefully remove, then air dry the jars. The jars are now ready for use – it’s best to use them right after sterilising them

5

Put the garlic and ginger into a blender, then pour in the vinegar. It should be enough to cover the garlic and ginger; if not, add a little more vinegar

  • 20g of garlic, chopped
  • 165g of fresh ginger, chopped into 1 cm (½ inch) cubes
  • 210ml of rice vinegar
6

Blend at high speed for at least 3 minutes until completely smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend at high speed for 6–8 minutes or until completely smooth

7

Pass the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl – you want some of the ginger fibres to get through, but to sift out the larger, unpleasant stringy bits (this gives a good consistency to the sauce without having to thicken it with anything else)

8

Squeeze any remaining solids through the sieve into the sauce to ensure you get all the juices and flavours from them

9

The sauce can be stored in a sterilised glass jar or an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month, or in the refrigerator for up to 3 months

10

To make the spiced flour mix, in a bowl mix together all the ingredients, making sure the spices are evenly distributed

11

When ready to cook, run your fingers through the chicken mixture to moisten any overlapping pieces. If it requires more soy milk, add some now so all the chicken pieces are submerged in the marinade

12

Toss a piece of chicken straight from the marinade into the flour mix.
Roll it around lightly with your fingers to form a nugget shape. Do not flatten it or try to press more of the mix onto it. If you want more spiced flour on the chicken, roll it in the bowl of flour mix a few times and dust extra spiced flour mix on top. Make sure the piece is fully coated, then transfer to a plate or tray. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken pieces

13

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan to 160°C/325°F, or until a cube of ginger sizzles and browns in 20 seconds. Very lightly shake off any excess flour mix, then – in 2 batches – carefully hold the chicken and slowly drop it away from you into the hot oil and deep-fry for 3 minutes until cooked through, lightly golden and crisp. Remove with the tongs or slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and leave to cool completely

  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
14

When cool, reheat the oil to 190°C/375°F and deep-fry again for 2 minutes

15

Place the chicken pieces in a shallow bowl and drizzle with hot sauce to serve

First published in 2023

Wai Ting Chung, Erchen Chang, and Shing Tat Chung are the founders of London's BAO, a series of Taiwanese London restaurants, the first of which opened in 2015. Together they also wrote the BAO cookbook, which was released in 2023.

Get in touch

Please sign in or register to send a comment to Great British Chefs.

You may also like