Sitting on the beach in paradise with a Mai Tai and fresh plate lunch of sweet crispy chicken and rice. Doesn’t really get better does it?! If you love Hawaiian comfort as much as we do, you are in the right place. This is our favorite(and if may say…), the BEST recipe for Hawaiian Fried Garlic Chicken!
Today we are making a super simple garlic chicken dish that is ready in 30 minutes. Perfect for a family dinner, perfect for a killer lunch on the beach!
Let me start off by saying that if you don’t love garlic, this dish isn’t for you!!! Try another Hawaiian lunch favorite like Huli Huli Chicken or juicy Kalbi Ribs.
If you, dear fellow garlic lover, are still here, I have got a treat for you!
While testing out this recipe I made Garlic Chicken four times over two weeks. And no-one complained. I mean my husband devoured a plate of this chicken BEFORE it had even been sauced. Those crispy pieces straight from the pan are just the best!
We love how easy this recipe is, starting with the garlic sauce that serves as a glossy finishing sauce, marinade/tenderizer for the chicken cubes, and the secret addition to the dry mix.
Hawaiian food is all about the sauce! That’s why there is always white rice served with lunch, to mop up all the Ono flavors!
[ONO(oh-noh) means delicious in Hawaiian]
Our sticky garlic sauce starts with equal parts soy sauce and sugar- with chili flakes for a little heat and sesame oil for depth of flavor. Heat that up to dissolve the sugar and then add the garlic and sliced green onion.
Adding the garlic at the end means it will only cook a little bit and retain that fiery spicy kick! No, there is not a mistake in the recipe. You will really need 1/2 a cup of garlic!
Garlic Chicken Marinade: for Marinating and Tenderizing the Chicken
Once the garlic sauce is ready we will spoon some of it on top of the cubed chicken. Use a big bowl or large container!
We will also add a bit of cornstarch and oil, and this will tenderize as well as pre-flavor the chicken for the most delicious flavor through and through.
TIME FOR MARINATING
I usually marinate the chicken for 20-30 minutes. If you want to prep dinner ahead of time you could make this the day before, cover tightly, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. No-one said no to more flavor!
My Secret for Crispy Breading
There is a trick I use in almost all my chicken recipes that are fried! Especially with Hawaiian chicken, which needs an extra crispy coating because of all the sauce we like to pour over it after!
Tempura batters are no good because the chicken simply gets soggy after adding the sauce…
My secret is to add some of the garlic sauce to the flour-cornstarch mix.
Whisk or mix well with a fork to create clumps in the dry batter. When you add the chicken, press the batter on to adhere it really well(as opposed to just giving it a toss).
Those clumps of marinade/flour will become little bits of crispness in the fryer!
Such an easy trick and so much extra crunch.
What to Serve with Hawaiian Garlic Chicken
You definitely should go for rice to soak up the delicious sweet sauce! I prefer Jasmine rice(topped with some furikake seasoning), but fried rice would also be delicious.
For the full Hawaiian Lunch also make:
Hawaiian Fried Garlic Chicken
- 2 pounds/one kilo chicken breast or thigh, sliced into cubes
Sauce and Marinade
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
- 1 TBSP sesame oil
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1 TBSP cornstarch
- 1 TBSP vegetable oil (I use canola)
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Add soy sauce and sugar to a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat just a bit and let gently boil for 2-3 minutes. It will thicken slightly. Add garlic and green onion, sesame oil, chili flakes, and pepper and boil for one more minute. Remove from the heat.
- Place cubed chicken in a large bowl or container. Measure out 4 to 5 Tablespoons of the garlic sauce onto the chicken. Add 1 Tablespoon cornstarch and 1 Tablepoon vegetable oil. Mix to combine and coat the chicken. Cover and let the chicken marinate and tenderize for 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
Dry Coat and Fry
- Add flour, cornstach, and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine. Add in 3 Tablspoons of the garlic sauce to the dry mix and whisk to create small clumps. TIP: these clumps will crisp up when the chicken fries and make for the crunchiest bite.
- Heat about 2 inches of oil in a wide frying pan or pot until shimmering.
- Add a few marinated chicken cubes at a time to the dry mix and coat, pressing on the chicken to adhere the coating. Fry until golden and crispy. Transfer to a paper bag or paper towel to drain some of the oil.Repeat with all chicken pieces.
- Before serving, heat garlic sauce. Add fried chicken and toss to coat. Alternatively you can serve the chicken in a big bowl with the garlic sauce on the side and spoon over as desired.Serve with white rice or fried rice.
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