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How to Use Chicken Nuggets for Your Favorite Ulam

Who doesn’t love chicken nuggets? These crispy, crunchy fried chicken chunks are always reliable hits because of the easy, convenient comfort they provide. If you don’t always have time to cook, it pays to keep a bag of frozen nuggets in your freezer. You can do more to them than just plain old frying.

How to Cook Chicken Nuggets

Frying is probably your default when it comes to cooking chicken nuggets. It’s certainly the quickest. However, you can experiment with other techniques to see which works better with your preferences and lifestyle.  

Fry your nugs.

Chicken nugget being dropped into hot oil

If you’re after the texture, frying will give you the crispiest and juiciest result. Defrost your chicken before anything else. Also, choose a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point like vegetable or canola oil. These work best at the high temperatures required for frying and don’t add any extra flavor.

Check out the different ways you can fry your chicken nuggets.

  • Deep-frying: Choose a tall, deep pan and fill it with oil about three-quarters of the way. Once the temperature reaches 350°F (176°C), place nuggets into the oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
  • Shallow-frying: It works essentially the same way. Simply fill a frying pan with oil until it is about half as high as your nugget. Cook each side until you get that golden brown shade.
  • Air frying: It offers the best of both worlds! You can get the crunch of frying with little or no oil. Defrosting is optional, too.

Cook until golden brown all over, about 5-7 minutes depending on the size of the nuggets. Carefully remove the nuggets from the pan and place them on paper towels to absorb excess grease.

Bake nuggets in the oven.

Baking tray lined with parchment paper full of chicken nuggets

Baking the nuggets is a healthier choice. However, the toss-up is your chicken won’t have the same crunch.

You can bake chicken nuggets even without defrosting them. However, this option won't save you more time. After all, you have to preheat your oven, then bake the chicken (around 15-20 minutes). Halfway through the bake time, be sure to flip the nuggets over to get them evenly golden on both sides.

Using in Your Ulam Recipes

Now that you know the various ways you can cook nuggets, here are some upgrades you can try at home if you’re bored with the usual rice and chicken nuggets combo.

Chicken katsu

Chicken katsu curry served with rice in a black bowl on a bamboo mat

Katsu curry is a popular Japanese dish. It soothes despite the sauce's intense flavors from the spices and vegetables. Dipping a crispy piece of meat into the warm curry is one of the best parts of this dish. An easy hack? Recreate the same effect with chicken nuggets. 

A typical katsu curry features a chicken or pork cutlet flattened, breaded, and fried for maximum crispness. Nuggets are a much cheaper and faster option! Cook them using any of the previously mentioned methods and slice them into strips to mimic a real piece of katsu. Serve your sliced nuggets on top of a bed of rice, pour some curry sauce, and get the chopsticks. No one will know the difference! 

Or, you can skip the curry sauce and serve chicken katsudon instead. Caramelize some sliced onions in a pan. Add your nuggets, then blanket everything with beaten eggs. Cook until the eggs have set, and then carefully slide everything on top of some white rice. Enjoy!

Sweet and sour chicken

Sweet and sour chicken on rice

Sweet and sour pork is one of the most famous Chinese dishes ever. It's so famous you can probably find this on the menu at most Chinese restaurants.

Classically, this stir-fry dish comes with pieces of fried pork, bell peppers, and onions tossed in a sweet, sour, sticky sauce. All you need to do is replace the pork with chicken nuggets. Fry your nugs and then follow this recipe, which can teach you how to make the sauce and fry the onions and bell peppers. Once the sauce thickens and vegetables cook, throw in your nuggets and toss until well coated. Serve right away for maximum crunch!

Korean fried chicken 

Korean fried chicken on a black plate garnished with sesame seeds and spring onion

Here is a different kind of KFC: Korean fried chicken. Korean fried chicken is known for its light and crispy skin coated with a sweet, sticky glaze. The trick to keeping it crispy is using potato starch and cornstarch instead of the usual flour dredge. Did you also know that Korean usually double-fry their chicken? You can try it at home using only a few ingredients and frozen nuggets.

Fry your nuggets as you usually would, but only until they reach a light brown hue. Remove them from the oil, rest them on a paper towel, then put them back in the fryer a second time. Cook them until they’re golden brown.

While your chicken is cooling you can prepare the sauce. Mix fish sauce, Knorr seasoning, grated ginger, honey, and calamansi in a pot and bring to a boil. Toss in your double-fried nuggets and coat evenly in the sauce. Serve them with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a bowl of rice.

You can use chicken nuggets in so many ways! Simply serve them with rice and vegetables for a sulit meal that is delicious and nutritious or use them for other recipes.

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