Recipe video above. This recipe brings together a plethora of Asian cooking secrets for a crispy chicken that stays crispy for 4+ hrs even after tossing with sauce:1. Double coating - dredge in cornflour/cornstarch followed by batter2. Cold batter made with soda water = crispier chicken that's puffy and light, not dense and greasy3. Cornflour/cornstarch + flour batter - cornflour for ultra crispiness, flour for golden colour + baking powder lift4. Double fry for extra long lasting, thicker crispiness AND less greasy (Asian secret!)5. No-Soggy Sauce - glucose or corn syrup to make it "candy like" to stick on chicken crust rather than soaking in, plus NO WATER in the sauce.See Notes for make ahead (99% like freshly made).
Place batter mixing bowl in the fridge with the flour, baking powder and salt. (Helps keep batter cold = crispier chicken)
Marinate & Dust Chicken:
Marinade: Mix Chicken and Marinade in a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Dust: Spread the 1/2 cup cornflour/cornstarch on a shallow plate. Scatter over about 8 to 10 chicken pieces, toss to coat, shake off excess, put on a plate. Repeat with all chicken.
Cold Batter & Fry #1:
Rack: Place a rack on a tray (for draining, Note 3)
Heat oil: Fill small pot or large saucepan with 4cm / 1.7" oil. Heat to 180°C/350°F on medium high stove (or until chicken starts sizzle straight away when dipped).
Make Cold Batter: Whisk together flour, cornflour/cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Pour in 7 tbsp soda water, then do minimum whisks just to combine (10 or so) - few lumps ok, better than whisking too much (changes coating texture).
Batter thickness: should fully coat chicken easily, not be see through, but not thick and heavy - see video at 44 seconds. Use extra water 1 teaspoon at a time to achieve right thickness.
Dredge: Drop 8 or so pieces of chicken into the batter. Turn to coat, then carefully place in oil.
Fry #1: Cook for 3 minutes until light golden and crispy - when you pick them up, you can tell it's very crispy.
Drain & repeat: Place on rack, repeat with remaining chicken - I cook in 4 batches, don't crowd the pot, brings oil temperature down too much.
Cool chicken for 20 minutes (Note 4). Meanwhile, make Sauce.
Place ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer, then leave to simmer for 3 minutes.
Consistency should be like maple syrup (video at 1 min 11 sec). Turn off stove, place lid on to keep warm (when cool, gets too thick to toss chicken).
Fry #2 - for ultra crispy!
Heat oil to 200°C/390°F.
Add in half the chicken (you can crowd the pot for Fry #2). Cook for 90 seconds until it changes from pale golden to very golden (but not dark golden, chicken will overcook), then remove onto rack. More golden = crispier chicken.
Repeat with remaining chicken. (Feel the chicken - you can tell it's built-to-last crispy!)
Toss in Sauce & Serve:
Tumble into saucepan with sauce, use rubber spatula to quick toss until coated with sauce. (Sauce starts thickening if you take too long, so be quick!)
Pile chicken up over crispy noodles (if using), scatter with sesame seeds and green onion and serve!
Puffy Crispy Noodles (optional):
At any point while oil is hot, drop wad of noodles into hot oil, wait 3 seconds until it puffs up, then remove with tongs.
Drain on paper towels, place on plate to top with chicken!
1. Chicken - they won't be cubes because thighs are 2.5cm/1" thick. Don't cut too small - too many little pieces, tedious to handle.Breast and tenderloin - add 1/8 tsp baking soda into marinade, DO NOT marinade longer than prescribed time per recipe (extra tenderising insurance because these are leaner, and easy to overcook when frying).2. Cold soda water, club soda, or seltzer water - it must be fridge cold to ensure crispy coating. Needs to be man-made fizziness to help with the puffiness. Do not use sparkling mineral water (ie naturally fizzy) - it's not as strong. It works but not as crispy.BEST SUB: Ice cold water. Crispiness not as strong so doesn't last as long once sauced, but still excellent if consumed within 20 minutes.3. Rack for draining - keeps chicken crispier than placing on paper towels (causes it to sweat).4. Cool chicken = crispier crust once double fried. Don't know exact science, presume it's like cold batter = crispier chicken! Still very crisper if double fried straight away, but stronger crust if cooled.5. Double fry - makes the coating ultra crisp AND less greasy, and depends from pale gold to golden. Also means all chicken is piping hot when tossed in sauce.Can skip - if so, do Fry 1 for 4 minutes until golden. Keep cooked chicken warm in 80°C/175°F oven on rack.6. Glucose or corn syrup (light) - key to making the honey sauce "toffee-like" so it coats and semi-sets ON the crispy crust rather than soaking INTO it and making it soggy. Both work just as well.Find glucose in the baking aisle. Corn syrup is not widely available in Australia - I order it online. Substitute with honey (it does work for crispiness retention, glucose/corn syrup is an extra insurance policy!)7. Air fryer / baking - baking definitely won't work for this batter. I doubt air fryer would work either because you need instant high heat to solidify the batter, otherwise it will run everywhere.I will share best baked alternative one day :)8. Cornflour and cornstarch are the same thing. Called cornstarch in the US and Canada, and cornflour in most of the rest of the world.9. SWEETNESS - Honey Chicken IS very sweet. That's why all kids go mad over it! But the quantity of the sauce in the recipe is such that there is only a thin coating on each piece of chicken.We can't detect anything in the sauce at restaurants other than honey and a bit of seasoning, eg nothing sour to balance out the sweet. So I've stuck with restaurant versions so your kids won't be disappointed. 😂 (PS I am a savoury rather than sweet girl, and I am mad for this Honey Chicken!)SAVOURY TOUCH: For those who really want less sweet, add 2 tbsp cider vinegar and simmer for an extra 1 minute, and also maybe a dash of hot sauce or sriracha. It will not taste like restaurant versions, but will seem less sweet.Please do NOT start adding things like ketchup and other things you see in other recipes as it will put the crispiness of the chicken at risk - the sauce as written almost "sets" on the surface of the crust, rather than soaking in.10. Make ahead - the ultimate way to make ahead which is 99% perfect:Double fry the chicken, fully cool on rack. Refrigerate in containers - you will be amazed that they are still crispy the next day. Make sauce, pour into container while hot, cool, refrigerate. On the day of: place chicken on rack on a tray, bake 7 minutes at 180°C/350°F until chicken is heated through and thoroughly crispy. Meanwhile, reheat sauce using chosen method - microwave for me, just 15 to 20 sec on high. Toss and serve!Reheating chicken with sauce already on it - it's got crunchy bits when cold, but as soon as you reheat it (oven or microwave), it goes soggy. No way around it I'm afraid!11. Reuse oil - Can be used twice more because chicken flavour is neutral, doesn't infuse oil with flavour. Cool oil in pot, line mesh colander with paper towel, strain oil. Store until required - personally would stick to savoury rather than sweet. Try Sweet & Sour Pork, Arancini Balls, Japanese Karaage or Southern Fried Chicken!12. An original creation by yours truly. Fluked it - bringing together learnings from other recipes (read in post for more information). You won't find any other Honey Chicken on line like this one. :)13. Nutrition - impossible for this one, I'm afraid! Let's just say it's got more calories than a lettuce leaf. :)