I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner last night. Rummaging around in the kitchen, I dawned on me that I had everything I needed to make fried chicken strips... if I could pull it off. I've never made fried chicken, and since this was going to be my first attempt, I was a bit nervous.
Now, I'd seen my wife make all sorts of fried stuff, so I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to do, so grabbing all the ingredients, I just jumped right in with both feet.
Easy Pan Fried Breaded Chicken Strips
Depending on how much chicken you plan to fry and the size of the pan you're using, it can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half on average.
I used three large chicken breasts that weighed approximately two and a half pounds. This makes enough for two adults and three kids with enough for my lunch the next day (which I forgot at home this morning. Rats).
- 2.5lbs Chicken Breasts
- Tempura Batter Mix
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- Salt & Pepper
1. Make The Tempura Batter
- 1.5 cups mix
- 2 cups water
- 1tbsp each of salt and pepper
The bag's instructions were a bit confusing, but essentially you want 3/4 cup of mix for every one cup of water.
I doubled that. 1.5 cups of mix and 2 cups of water. It came out looking rather watery, but that's OK. It works perfectly that way.
I added 1 tbsp each of salt and peper.
I manually whisked the batter with a whisk making sure to get batter all over the counter and on my shirt.
Putting the batter aside, move on.
2. Put Dry ingredients in their own bowls
- 3 cups tempura batter, dry in one bowl
- 1 full box of Panko bread crumbs in another large bowl
This was the easy part. I used a medium sized bowl for the tempura mix and a large bowl for the Panko.
3. Cutting the Chicken
I cut the chicken into 1-2 inch strips. On three large chicken breasts, this offers about six cuts per breast, so you'll get about 18 to 20 peices. It might not sound like a lot, but for most kids and parents, three to four strips are enough, especially when served with a "filler" like rice.
4. Breading the Chicken
Essentially what you'll be doing is dropping the chicken into the dry mix. When it's coated with mix, move to the batter and give a light coat. Finally, move to the panko crumbs and coat with crumbs.
I used a large baking sheet to place the prepped chicken peices on while I got the pan ready.
4. Prepping the Pan
I used a shallow 10 inch non-stick pan and put about a half inch of oil in. I have larger pans, but the smaller one uses less oil, even though the tradeoff is that you can't fry as many peices at once. For me, last night, it didn't make a difference. I decided that it was more important to conserve oil than to cook quickly. Besides, I made a new pot of rice and needed to wait for that to get done anyway.
I have a normal 3 inch burner on the stove, and turned the heat full to warm up the oil. I let the oil heat up completely before dropping the first round of chicken in.
5. Cooking the Breaded Chicken
Cooking the chicken is pretty easy. Before I dropped any chicken in, I turned the flame down two thirds of full hight. On my stove, I went from 10 down to three.
I gave the oil about three minutes to level off the temperature and then dropped the first round of battered Panko chicken in.
You have to check and turn the chicken pretty frequently to make sure that the breading doesn't get cooked to much, so it's not something you can sit down and read the newspaper (who does that anymore?) while it cooks.
The cooking process on all 20 peices was just about 45 minutes (1 hour overall with prep).
Pro Tip: Save your clean cardboard egg cartons. They make excellent free drip trays (see picture below)!
I left the chicken on the drip tray for about five minutes to cool so the kids wouldn't burn their mouths. The oil gets soaked up in the egg carton tray, and you're left with a delicious Panko Breaded Chicken Strip!