If using breasts, make 1/3″/1cm deep, diagonal scores all over the surface of the meat and cut them into small pieces (1.5″/4cm squares), then marinade in the rest of the ingredient for approx 1 ~ 2 hours.
When the meats are marinading, mix together all the ingredients in “spice mixture”. Now, the MSG is optional. MSG is a must in the spice mixture. Just like it is in almost ALL Asian savory street foods.
Combine all the ingredients in the “breading” in a bowl. The breading calls for tapioca flour and I’m afraid to say that this one isn’t negotiable.
Mix 2/3 of a beaten egg into the chicken breasts and combine evenly, then toss them in the breading A FEW PIECES at a time. Make sure each piece has an even coating of the breading. Place the breaded chicken breasts on a baking rack and LET IT REST FOR 30 MIN.
Preheat the oven on 300ºF/150ºC. In a frying pot (hopefully comes with a basket and a lid), heat up 3 cups of canola oil (or more if needed) on medium high heat. Test the temperature of the oil by sticking the end of a wooden chopstick into it. If it bubbles up quickly along the side of the chopstick, the oil is ready. DON’T CROWD THE FRYING POT. Depending on the size of pot, only put as many pieces of chicken in at a time so that they still have rooms to move around in the pot. Start frying the chicken 1 batch at a time until they turn golden brown on all sides. Keep the done-batches warm in the preheated oven on a baking sheet when you are frying the next batch.
When the meats are frying, finely mince 3 cloves of garlic and set in a big bowl.
When done frying all the chickens, keep’em warm in the oven, then take the frying basket out of the oil and place all the herbs in it. With the lid on, drop the basket into the hot oil. NOW. This is why a LID is VERY IMPORTANT. Herbs = a lot of water. Water + hot grease = SPLATTER! If you are looking for an excellent reason to renovate the kitchen, by all means leave the lid. If you are using a dutch oven or whatever instead of a frying pot, then immediately put the lid on after herbs are dropped. Either way, when the sizzling sound resides, that means the herbs are crispy. It’s safe to open the lid now. Lift the basket and add the crispy herbs to the minced garlic.
Add the chicken to the garlic and herbs. Sprinkle the spice mixture GENEROUSLY onto the chicken and toss to combine. I like to serve these chicken poppers on the baking sheet to keep them warm. Oh, and cayenne powder is more than welcome for sprinkling, too…