Julio's Chicken Nuggets
Makes 16 to 18 large nuggets (4 to 5 servings)
For the sauce:
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons regular or low-sodium soy sauce
1 small hand of peeled ginger root, grated (1/4 cup)
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
For the nuggets:
About 2 cups canola oil, or more as needed, for frying
2 (about 16 ounces) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 1-inch cubes (including tenderloins)
1/2 large red onion, coarsely chopped or cut into small dice (your choice)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons regular or low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
3- or 4-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated (3 tablespoons)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped, for garnish
For the sauce: Combine the brown sugar, soy sauce and ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a cup to form a slurry; stir it into the saucepan and cook, stirring, to form a glossy, thickened sauce. Keep warm on low heat.
For the nuggets: Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels, or place a wire rack inside a baking sheet. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. If the oil is not about a half-inch deep, add more as needed.
Combine the chicken, onion, eggs, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, flour and cornstarch in a mixing bowl, stirring to form a thickened mixture.
Drop a small portion of the nugget mixture into the oil; if the oil bubbles furiously around it and it starts to brown quickly, the oil is ready. Use an ice cream scoop to drop 5 or 6 mounds of the mixture into the oil, making sure there is plenty of space between them. Flatten them slightly for even cooking. Fry for about 5 minutes, turning them once so the nuggets are browned on both sides and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to the paper-towel-lined plate or wire rack; repeat to use all of the nugget mixture. Garnish the nuggets with the macadamia nuts. Serve warm, with the dipping sauce and/or with rice.