Battering, frying turns chicken into ‘pillows’

By Jim Bailey

The crunchy exterior and pillow soft interior of these chicken “pillows” are so good, you will be tempted to adapt your own sauces, like General Tso’s for example.

My father made batter-fried clams his whole life and was instrumental in perpetuating the Maine favorite, Perry’s Fried Clams.

1 quart oil for cooking
1 pound boneless chicken breast
3 cups prepared pancake mix (see NOTE)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
White rice, kept warm

Bring your oil up to 350-degrees F in a deep fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks and place in prepared batter, turning well to evenly coat; set aside.

When oil is hot, lift chicken from batter, gently shaking off excess and immediately but carefully add to hot oil. Continue until the surface of the oil is covered with floating chicken, but with a little space in between each.

Cook, carefully stirring and flipping chicken, for about 4 minutes total, or until well browned all over.

Lift the chicken from oil with slotted spoon onto a paper towel-lined platter or cookie pan with a grate.

Allow oil to rest for a minute in order to regain temperature and repeat until all chicken is cooked.

In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice and cornstarch until smooth. Add orange juice, soy sauce, orange zest and all spices, whisking well; set aside while cooking chicken.

When all chicken has been cooked, bring juice mixture to a boil over medium high heat in a large skillet. It will thicken.

Add all chicken, stir to coat well and cook 1 minute, constantly turning and glazing all chicken.
Serve equal amounts of glazed chicken over rice and serve hot.

NOTE: Make prepared, boxed pancake/waffle mix according to directions or your favorite homemade batter.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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