Looking for a recipe that adds a spicy & super flavourful twist on your popcorn chicken? Then try this Spicy Cumin Popcorn Chicken! Deliciously marinated, crispy popcorn chicken bites, tossed with spicy cumin salt and toasted peanuts, this is the PERFECT party and game day appetizer!
Popcorn chicken. That’s got to rank pretty high in the list of perfect party and game day appetizers don’t ya think? Bite-sized, crispy, fried chicken bites dunked in a delicious sauce. And when they are this easy to make, why would you even hesitate? Still, I bet you’ve never tasted popcorn chicken like this before! Tender chicken meat marinated in a spicy cumin salt and whiskey, and then coated with potato starch/corn starch (not breaded) for extra crispiness, and then tossed with more of that delightful spicy cumin salt. Whether it’s game day, or a party or just movie night at home, if you’re on the look out for an easy yet insanely flavourful popcorn chicken bites recipe, this Easy Spicy Cumin Popcorn Chicken will have you covered!
It’s no secret that spices are a constant in my life. My whole family loves their food spicy and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. It’s the result of growing up in Sri Lanka, a culture where a meal without spices, was no meal at all. Wherever there’s a party and booze, there’s always a variety of spicy “bites” (spicy party appetizers). Usually it’s a spicy bowl of mixed nuts or deep-fried meat, or cocktail sausages, or like these Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets!
This Spicy Cumin Popcorn Chicken is borne out of that heritage. 🙂 Cumin adds such a beautiful earthy, warming flavour, it’s the PERFECT game day or party appetizer with a cold beer!
This spicy popcorn chicken is really easy to make as well as customize according to your preferences. I used potato starch to coat the bite-sized chicken nuggets, but you can use corn starch (cornflour) instead. This gives them that extra crispiness that’s quite addictive. You can use thicken thighs or breast pieces – but if you do use chicken breast (my choice), you need to make sure that you don’t over fry them so that they remain tender and juicy. If you use chicken thighs, they can be fried a little longer without drying ’em out.
Crispy and spicy popcorn chicken bites, deliciously marinated with cumin, cayenne pepper and a 1/4 cup of whiskey, tossed with a smoky, spicy cumin salt, and then with the added crunch of peanuts toasted with cumin, salt and chilli flakes, this is one amazing game day snack, and one legit party popper!
And while you’re at it, why not pair it with this delicious spicy sweet chilli sauce? 🙂 It’s the best I’ve ever had, I swear!
And remember if your tolerance to heat and spices is on the low side, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper, chilli flakes you use in this recipe. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
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Spicy Cumin Popcorn Chicken
- 1 lb of chicken breast thigh or tenderloin, cut into 1 ½ - 2 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup of whiskey such as Jim Beam
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper or less if you like it less spicy
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup potato starch
- ½ - 1 tsp cumin
- ½ cup of raw peanuts
- 1 - 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- A few curry leaves optional
- Generous pinch of salt cumin and chilli flakes/crushed red pepper (or spicy cumin salt - see below)
Spicy Cumin Salt
- ¼ cup of salt
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chilli flakes/crushed red pepper
Spicy Cumin Popcorn Chicken
- Mix the chicken with the marinade ingredients. Let it marinate for about 2 - 3 hours or overnight.
- Mix the potato starch/corn starch with the cumin. Coat marinated chicken pieces with the spiced starch. Keep the coated chicken pieces on a tray in a single layer until you’re ready to fry them.
- Heat some oil (about 1 - 2 inch deep) to about 320-350°F (160-180°C). (Another way to check the oil temp. is to put a cube of bread in the oil which should then turn golden brown in about 10 seconds).
- When the oil is sufficiently hot, carefully transfer a few pieces of chicken to the oil (do not over crowd the pan since it will lower the oil temperature). Fry the chicken until golden brown - about 5 minutes, making sure to turn the chicken for even browning.
- Remove the chicken from the oil and place them on paper towel to drain excess oil. The chicken can be kept on a wire rack in a warm oven until ready to use.
- Place the oil in a pan and heat on medium heat. Add the peanuts and curry leaves and toast until the peanuts turn golden and are lightly toasted. Add a generous pinch of the Spicy Cumin Salt and mix well. Set aside.
- When ready to serve, place the popcorn chicken bites in a bowl with peanuts and sprinkle some Spicy Cumin Salt and toss well. Enjoy!
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”
If you liked this recipe, you definitely need to check out these fantastic and very popular Lemongrass and Wasabi Chicken Nuggets! 🙂
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