Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken (yan su ji) Recipe

Fried chicken, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, not greasy at all.

You can imagine why Yan Su Ji (We call it salt and pepper chicken, Taiwanese popcorn chicken) has the reputation of one of the most popular dishes of Taiwan’s night market, especially in summer whilst a drinking cold beer or chilled cola.

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

This dish, especially when made at home and with fresh basil, tastes exceptionally delicious with the chicken being very fragrant. So let’s get started!

In fact, it is easy to plant the basil yourself at home.  Just Look at the picture below.

fresh basil

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken


  • 1) A small chicken of about 750 grams (chicken legs can also be used)


  • 1) 150g of sweet potato starch
  • 2) 20g soy flour


  • 1) 20 grams of sweet rice wine (you can use cooking wine instead)
  • 2) 5g Salt
  • 3) 3 grams of pepper powder.
  • 4) 6g of Allspice
  • 5) Two cloves of garlic
  • 6) One egg
  • 7)10g of Fresh Basil

taiwanese popcorn chicken ingredients1

taiwanese popcorn chicken ingredients2

How to make authentic Chinese salt and pepper chicken:

Step1: Grind the garlic in a food processor.

taiwanese popcorn chicken step1

Step 2: Wash and separate the chicken. Mix all the seasonings except the Basil and let marinade for about two hours.

taiwanese popcorn chicken step2-1

taiwanese popcorn chicken step2-2

Step 3: Mix sweet potato starch and soybean powder in another bowl.

taiwanese popcorn chicken step3
Step 4: Put the chicken pieces in and mix well until they are completely coated.
taiwanese popcorn chicken step4-1

taiwanese popcorn chicken step4-2
Step 5: Use a large sifter to get the excess flour off of the chicken.

taiwanese popcorn chicken step5
Step 6: Fill a pot about 1/3 to a half full of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken gently and fry
taiwanese popcorn chicken step6
Step 7: Deep-fry until the surface of the chicken is golden, put it into the fresh basil and fry for about ten seconds. When taking the chicken out, let the oil drip off over the pot for a few seconds.

taiwanese popcorn chicken step7

Take out and place on a paper towel to cool and absorb and excess oil.


1. I generally like to use fresh chicken. It is much more tender and delicious than using frozen chicken.

2. The purpose of using soybean flour is to make the chicken crispy and golden, you can’t use too much of it. If you cannot find soy flour, you can use sweet potato starch.

3. I, personally, like to have my fried chicken with the bone in. And make sure that the pieces are not too small, or the chicken will be dry.

4. Make sure to shake the excess flour off of the chicken through a strainer before frying.

5. The oil must be hot, or the chicken will not get crispy on the outside, and will be greasy.

6. Finally, only lay the fresh basil on the top of the oil just to release the aroma. It will only take a few seconds, don’t fry for too long.

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