These crispy rice chicken strips are something fun & different you can make for your next game day or dinner party! They’re the perfect finger food, and the puffed up rice grains are a fun way to make these extra crispy.
These are well known in Korea as “Sal-sal chicken.” “Sal” means rice, and the first time I had this was at a famous chicken wing restaurant called Kyochon. They’re super crispy, tender, and juicy on the inside! My favorite dip to pair it with it honey mustard, and it only takes 4 ingredients to make.
The rice gives these chicken strips a unique taste and texture. When cooked rice is fried, it puffs up, giving it a crispy but airy texture. The grains look better when they are processed down into smaller bits, and for this I really like Mahatma® Rice Ready to Heat Rice. You may use day old cooked rice, but it is much more difficult to evenly process the rice to our desired consistency.
Chicken- use whichever you prefer between tenders and breast. I used a chicken breast that had the tender attached to it, but they are generally sold separately. Both have their pros and cons:
Tenders are obviously more tender and moist than chicken breast, however they do not absorb as much flavor from the seasoning as chicken breasts.
Breasts are better for you, although I’m not sure that matters much as we are frying them.
Tenders will require a little more work- you need to remove the tendon which can be done with a fork and a paper towel.
Seasoning- you may season your chicken and breading however you like! I’m using my favorite seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder. You can make adjustments depending on your taste and/or what kind of dip you will be pairing it with.
Cooked rice- day old short grain or jasmine rice. I recommend Mahatma® Rice Ready to Heat Rice for this recipe- it’s just the right texture needed to break down evenly in a food processor to make smaller rice grains for coating the chicken better. The rice will puff up a bit when fried, and adds a really light, crunchy texture as well as extra flavor to the breading.
Breading- in addition to the rice, you will need some panko for the breading.
Egg & flour- to coat the chicken and help the rice/panko batter stick.
Oil for frying- I normally use canola or vegetable oil for frying.
Honey mustard- this is a really delicious dip that only requires 4 ingredients! Dijon mustard, mayo, honey, and lemon. A pinch of cayenne pepper is great too but totally optional.
Other sauces ideas to pair with the chicken strips
Honey Garlic Aioli
Sweet Jalapeno (recipe here)
*This recipe is kindly sponsored by Mahatma® Rice. I carry their products in my kitchen at all times!
Crispy Rice Chicken Strips (Sal-Sal Chicken)
- 1 lb chicken breast or tenders
- 1.5 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Mahatma Rice Ready To Heat Jasmine Rice
- 1/2 cup panko
- oil for frying
- 3 tbsp dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp mayo
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- Mix the honey mustard ingredients together and keep in the fridge until ready to use. You can make this ahead of time- it will stay good in the fridge a few weeks.
- Mix together seasoned salt, pepper, & garlic powder. Reserve 1 tsp of this seasoning mix to add to the rice/panko breading. Use the rest to season the chicken.
- Pound your chicken breast to an even thickness, as much as you can.
- Cut your chicken breast or tenders into strips, about the same thickness as a quarter (coin). Season with 1.5 tsp of the seasoning mix. Set aside.
- Pour 3/4 cup of Mahatma® Rice Ready to Heat Rice into a food processor to break down the rice grains a little. Pulse 4 or 5 times until you get the right consistency- you want broken little pieces but careful not to turn it into a powder-like consistency.
- Combine the panko with the processed rice, plus the remaining seasoning (1 tsp).
- Lightly coat the chicken in all-purpose flour
- Then coat the chicken in egg
- Roll into the seasoned rice/panko breading. The trick here is to gently roll until evenly coated- refrain from trying to pack it in tightly, or the rice grains will not stick as well. The key is to make sure you have a nice even coating of the egg so that as much rice/panko breading will stick.
- Bring the oil to 360 degrees (use a thermometer for this!), then fry the chicken strips a few at a time (do not over crowd) for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. They do not need that much time since they are thin strips. Careful not to overcook! And make sure the temp doesn't get lower than 340 degrees.
- Rest on a cooling rack while you work on the rest of the strips
- Clean the oil before working on the next batch. If you don't clean these bits out, they will burn and attach to your chicken strips.