Spicy Crispy Chicken
Spicy crispy chicken is a staple in my house. It’s one of those recipes that pleases everyone!
We are doing a detox in my house. After a full month of parties, vacations, and celebrations, we are actually looking forward to it! It’s funny, when I just wrote that sentence I realized that while we did celebrate more than usual this month, really a lot of our overeating was done at home when not celebrating… ugh! It’s time to stop!!!!
But, in our house, a detox doesn’t mean green juices all day long (although I do love my green juice…). For the month of January, we are eliminating all grains, sweeteners, beans, and a long list of other things our bodies feel better without.
Nobody really knows they are detoxing because recipes like this spicy crispy chicken are on our eating plan. And for the rest of this month, you will see plenty of other great recipes that fit into our elimination diet.
Just look at this picture — can you believe this is a healthy recipe that would fit into an elimination diet? Well, it is… and it tastes even better than it looks! And, if you are looking for a simple salad to go perfectly with this dish, try my Romaine Wedge Salad.
This chicken is really crispy (my son thought it was fried) and you can adjust the spiciness to your particular taste. For my son, I dipped the chicken fully into the amazing spicy/sweet sauce and really rolled it around so it was extra spicy. For the rest of us, I drizzled it on top or left it on the side for awesome dipping.
Let’s get cooking and get back to feeling healthier:
Chicken is something I always buy organic. Organic chicken is a great, healthy protein to give you energy, lessen the pain of some types of arthritis, and boost your system when you are particularly weak — like after surgery, childbirth, or illness. Chicken is good for nourishing the blood and it’s a healthy source of protein and vitamin B6.
Hot peppers contain more vitamin C than any other vegetable and they are good at fighting off the common cold. Whenever I have a cold I eat lots of hot sauce. So, if you like spice, as I do, use a generous amount of whatever hot sauce you like. Read the ingredients on the label (as with any pre-made food) to make sure it meets your dietary requirements — there are so many hot sauces, wing sauces, and barbecue sauces out there that are gluten-free, paleo, etc. The main component of hot peppers is capsaicin. Capsaicin actually works with your body and mind to make you feel happy. It’s also good for reducing swelling and can relieve arthritic joint pain. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before eating too many hot peppers because they can actually raise the blood pressure in some people.
Tapioca is a starch that comes from the cassava plant. It’s not really a flour in the traditional sense; it’s grain and gluten free. It’s good for your circulation and your digestion. Oftentimes I will make recipes with tapioca flour — it seems to crisp things up well — it certainly works well on this chicken.
Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. Sometimes it can even be used topically on skin disorders. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc…. When I have a cold I will actually make a garlic concoction in my blender and drink it — it works wonders!
Strawberries are good for your heart and they are great at reducing plaque in your mouth. They will make you feel better if you have an annoying dry cough or if you feel bloated from eating too much…
If you know me, you know I almost always add raw Chinese herbs to my sauces while they are cooking. This time I added some Bai Zhu. Bai Zhu can be good if you are feeling run down and bloated (and I am!).
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup tapioca flour (you can buy it here)
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Raw Chinese herbs (optional) (I used Bai Zhu)
- For sauce:
- ½ cup hot sauce or Buffalo wing sauce (these are my favorite hot sauces)
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth
- ½ cup strawberry preserves (I use this one)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Convection setting, or 425 regular bake setting.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on top of the foil.
- In a pie plate or shallow bowl, mix together the tapioca flour, a generous amount of salt and pepper, smoked paprika, turmeric, and cayenne. Stir until mixed.
- Pour the oil into a second dish.
- Dip each piece of chicken into the oil and flip over until coated, then dip into the flour mixture.
- Place the pieces as they are dredged onto the rack.
- Bake the chicken until it's crispy and cooked through. Mine took 35 minutes on the Convection setting.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by stirring the ingredients in a small pot and then letting it simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and either coat in the sauce or pass the sauce on the side. Enjoy!
I CAN NOT wait to make this! I can literally see the crunch!
Lauren, thanks so much for the kind words! Coming from you it means a lot. And, you have to make this dish; it really is amazing!
That sauce. Oh my. I’ve begun making it in bulk and dipping everything into it.
For some reason, I could not get the chicken crispy. I left it in the oven a bit extra and even tried broiling it for a few minutes but pulled it out so it wouldn’t get dry or burnt. There were still numerous areas that weren’t crispy and had that chalky, flour-y feel to them. Tips?
Mark, let me try to help you! The chicken is so good when it’s crispy, so we have to figure this out. Here are some things to check: make sure you are not using too much of the flour mixture (shake off the excess before you bake); make sure the oven is hot before you put the chicken in; make sure you are using a rack on top of the baking tray; make sure there is space between each piece of chicken so that none of them are touching each other. If none of these are your issues, you can also try spraying a little bit of oil on the chicken just before baking (I’ve never had to do this, but I’m guessing it would work). Please let me know what happens! And I agree… the sauce is incredible!
I just made these with chicken tenders and they look great on the top (almost like they’re battered), but the undersides are gummy. I flipped them halfway through but that didn’t help crisp up both sides. I’m wondering if its the oil — maybe I didn’t let the excess drip off enough? I’m wondering if I could use egg next time (I’m doing Whole30 and egg would be okay). That all said, the taste is really good and the sauce is delicious! So glad I found your blog!
Hi Deb! I’m sorry your chicken wasn’t crispy on the bottom. I hope I can help. Did you bake the chicken on top of a rack set on a baking sheet? I find that cooking it on a rack allows the bottom to crisp up nicely. You can definitely use egg instead of oil if you like, but the oil is what helps the batter crisp up. I haven’t tried this particular recipe with egg, so if you do, please let me know how it goes. When I use the rack, I don’t even have to flip the chicken halfway through!
So I tried these using egg instead of oil and had the same result 🙁 — gummy, not crispy. I baked them on a rack both times so that’s not the problem. The coating stuck to the rack and fell off. Maybe I just haven’t finessed the wet/dry ratio of the coating. I’d love to find a gluten-free coating for chicken tenders (panko has been my go-to). I don’t like the texture of almond meal/flour — maybe coconut flour? Thank you for trying to help me with this recipe — and again, I just love the sauce!
Hmmmm… I wish I could be a fly on the wall when you are making them… For me, if I use olive oil and tapioca flour, it’s crispy. Is your oven hot when you put them in? If not, that could be the culprit. If you are letting the oven heat up before you put the chicken in, then maybe you can check the temp of the oven with a thermometer; maybe it’s not getting hot enough. An oven that’s too cool will prevent anything from crisping. Also, if you are looking for a gluten-free coating, you can also try using gluten free oats. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can suggest. And thanks so much for trying again!