Rocco's Flash Fried Chicken Nuggets
This updated version of my finger-lickin', flash-fried chicken makes for a lively and healthy summer dinner. By cooking the chicken in the microwave and then flash-frying it, it ensures not only quick prep time but a low-fat fried chicken dinner.
- 1 small red onion, sliced in half and thinly sliced
- 5 whole ripe fresh limes, 1 cut into 4 wedges
- 2 quarts grapeseed or corn oil
- 16 ounces chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 3 1/4 tablespoons adobo powder, Goya or similar
- 2 egg whites
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1/4 cup fine ground yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- 16 cherry tomatoes, stems removed and washed
- 1/2 ripe hass avocado, peeled and cut into 8 chunks
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 spicy red or green jalapeño, sliced as thin as possible
Place the sliced red onions in a small stainless steel bowl. With a fine grater or zester, zest the skin of 1 lime over the onions. Cut the 4 whole limes in half crosswise and squeeze all the juice over the onions. Add a tiny pinch of salt and mix, and make sure all the onions are in the lime juice; you can use the squeezed limes as a weight to push down any onions sticking out of the juice. The onions will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Pour the oil into a large, heavy pot that has at least a 6-quart capacity. Heat the oil over medium-high heat on the stove to 400°F. Meanwhile, place a chicken thigh on the cutting board and cut into 4 to 5 even-sized chunky pieces and repeat until all thighs are done. Lay out all of the chicken chunks on a microwave safe plate and season both sides with 1/4 tablespoon of adobo powder as well as salt and pepper. Place the plate in the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove the plate and turn each piece of chicken over and microwave again on high until the chunks are just cooked though, about another 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on your microwave. Let the chicken cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile place the egg whites into a bowl and beat with a fork until very foamy, about 2 minutes. In a wide and shallow bowl or cake pan, mix the remaining 3 tablespoons of adobo powder and paprika with the cornmeal and whole wheat flour. Submerge the cooked chicken pieces in the eggwhites and toss to coat well with a fork, then move the chicken to the shallow bowl with the seasoned whole wheat flour and cornmeal mix. Toss the chicken to coat well, spread the chicken out in one layer over the flour mix and let sit while you assemble the salad.
Wash and dry your hands thoroughly then assemble the salad by placing the shredded iceberg lettuce in a bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Drain the lime juice from the onions and reserve the leftover lime juice. Next, add the onions to the salad with a dash of salt and 2 tablespoons of the reserved lime juice from the onions and toss to dress evenly. On four serving plates, heap the salad in the middle of each plate and place the avocado slices equally over each of the salads.
In four separate even-sized batches, fry the chicken for 12 seconds per batch then remove the chicken from the oil to a plate with either a wire rack on top or paper towels to drain off any excess oil. Turn the stove off immediately under the hot oil after your last batch. Arrange the cooked chicken evenly around the salad of each of the four plates and lay four cilantro sprigs over each salad and serve with lime wedges and sliced jalapeño.
Cook the limes in the microwave on high for 15 seconds before you cut and squeeze them, this helps you get every last bit of precious juice out of each one!
Make sure your oil thermometer is used exactly as directed per the manufacturer’s instructions and you carefully monitor the temperature of the oil every 5 minutes so it does not exceed 400°F.
When cooking the chicken in the microwave, keep in mind the chicken chunks on the outside will cook faster then the chicken in the middle of the plate, so after you flip them over from first cooking stage, it is important to rotate the pieces from the outside of the plate to the middle of the plate before you continue to microwave them.
It is important not to toss the ripe avocado with the other ingredients as it would destroy a shape and size of a ripe avocado.
Let the oil cool on the stove until it is room temperature, then using a funnel pour the oil back into its original container and place screw the cap back on for easy disposal.
Resource for before nutritionals:
Per serving: 279 calories, 13.865g fat (2g sat, 4g mono, 6g poly), 75mg cholesterol, 747mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 27g protein
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