Popcorn Chicken with Honey Barbecue Sauce

, from Issue #82.
Photography by Sarah Tuck.
Popcorn Chicken with Honey Barbecue Sauce

These crunchy, seasoned chicken bites are even better with the rich Honey Barbecue Sauce.


Serves: 6


Honey Barbecue Sauce
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup cider vinegar 
½ cup runny honey
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard
½ teaspoon sweet 
smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup sour cream, 
to serve (optional)
600 grams boneless chicken thighs
1½ cups buttermilk
1 large egg, size 7, beaten
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ teaspoons sea salt
½ cup plain flour
½ cup cornflour
2 teaspoons sweet
smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups high smoke-point oil


Sauce: Whisk all the ingredients together in a saucepan over a medium heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chicken: Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs and cut each into 3-4cm pieces. Put in a container, add the buttermilk, egg, 1/2 teaspoon each of the cayenne and salt and stir well to combine. Seal and refrigerate for at least six hours or overnight. 

Put the flour, cornflour, sweet smoked paprika, cumin, remaining salt and cayenne in a shallow bowl and whisk to combine. 

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan until a piece of bread dropped into the oil will pop up in 20 seconds. Drop each of the chicken pieces directly from the buttermilk into the seasoned flour, shake off any excess and drop into the hot oil. Cook for 1 minute or until cooked through, then drain well on kitchen towels. 

To serve: Serve with Honey Barbecue Sauce and sour cream, if using, on the side.