Picky Eaters

Ayesha Curry’s Chicken Bites Are Irresistible To Even The Pickiest Eaters

They’re like chicken nuggets, but better.

There are few cookbooks I use more than Ayesha Curry’s The Full Plate. I work full-time from home alongside two picky little girls, and hand-on-heart, Curry’s cookbook is pretty foolproof. There are so many great easy recipes in there (that are also cheap on ingredients, which is an extra bonus!) that my kids love (my 6-year-old asks for Curry’s Swedish meatballs recipe once a week) and that my husband and I enjoy, too.

We may not be able to get them to eat a bowl of green beans (yet), but we can get them to try some new flavors with kid-favorites, like chicken nuggets. And Curry’s umami chicken bites — also known in her house as Chicken Bites with Ooooh Mommy! Sauce — are a hit. Marinated in soy sauce, these little fried up chicken bites have a lot of flavor, and they’re easy to whip up. I’ve made a bunch on a Sunday and used for dinner, lunches, or a quick protein snack alongside other kid favorites like cheese and grapes. Don’t skip out on the sauce — it’s so good, you’ll want it for your own “grown-up” meals. (These umami bites are totally for grown-ups, too.)

My kids are picky, but it’s all about balance and finding what works for them. I can’t just try and force them to eat a salad every night. I just have to keep exposing them to new foods and giving them some standby favorites I’m excited about, too — like these bites.

SAUCE

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup (I like Sir Kensington’s or good old Heinz)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, ketchup, honey, turmeric, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

CHICKEN BITES

  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and egg. Add the chicken pieces, turn to coat, and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and set nearby. Pour a 2-inch depth of canola oil into a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot and heat over high heat until it registers 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, herbes de Provence, paprika, salt, and pepper. Working with a few pieces of chicken at a time, remove them from the soy sauce-egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, then transfer to the bowl with the flour mixture and toss gently to coat. Transfer the breaded chicken to a clean plate; repeat until all of the chicken has been dredged in flour.

Add half the chicken to the hot oil and fry, turning once, until deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer to the lined baking sheet to drain. Let the oil return to temperature, then fry the remaining chicken as directed. Season the fried chicken bites with salt, transfer to a plate, and serve with the sauce alongside.