Coated in mochiko flour and fried, these delicious chicken-filled tacos with an addictive umebashi mayo are crispy, tender and will have you dreaming of Maui.
By Emily Stoffel
I love tacos. Veggie tacos, belly tacos. I could legit eat tacos for almost every meal and feel very little regret. So when we went to Maui this winter, my belly list was stacked high with some of the best fish tacos on the island. Did I cry a little at night thinking of all the forbidden poke, the scandalous SPAM lurking around every bend? Indeed. But tacos are a fine consolation prize, my friends. I made do.
And when tacos weren’t within reach, mochiko chicken most definitely was becaaaaaause mochiko chicken is everywhere. I feel like the best mochiko chicken is probably hiding in the kitchens of Hawaiian aunties and grammas all over the island. Perfectly tender and shoyu’d and sweet with errant edges of crisped, fatty dark meat.
That’s why, when I decided to commemorate our vacay with this little hybrid, I took major notes from that pretty lady (and Maui native) Alana when it came to doing up the mochiko chicken proper. And then, um, heavily consulted my tastebuds when it came to the rest. I mean, I was pretty confident it’d be hard for even me to screw up something as inherently delicious as Asiany-fusiony-tacostuffs, but just in case, I ate whole bunches of them.
And also it turns out umeboshi mayo is addictive.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 T mochiko flour
- 2 T tapioca starch
- 2 T sugar
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1 T sherry wine
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 2 T green onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- neutral oil for frying, such as avocado
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayo
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4-5 pickled umeboshi plums, pits removed
- about 6 small flour tortillas, warmed
- shredded carrots/cabbage
- thinly sliced radishes
- chives or scallions
- extra lemon
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, soy sauce, sherry wine, salt, egg, scallions and garlic until well combined. Add chicken and marinate in the fridge, covered, several hours or overnight.
- (Once chicken has marinated) Prepare a cooling rack set over paper towels on a baking sheet.
- To shallow fry chicken, heat about ¼" of oil in the bottom of a large, deep sided skillet over med to med-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken pieces in batches (chopsticks work lovely for this task) -- being careful not to crowd the pan -- and fry until deep golden brown and crisp on the edges, about 3-4 mins per side. Remove to cooling rack to drain. Repeat with remaining batches. Allow chicken to cool.
- While chicken cools, combine mayo, sour cream, lemon juice and umeboshi in a small food processor and blend until smooth.
- To serve tacos, layer warm tortillas with umeboshi mayo, warm chicken, veggies, cilantro and chives. Top with salsa, furikake, a squeeze of lemon and more umeboshi mayo. Enjoy!
Emily Stoffel (Em) is the voice behind The Pig & Quill, a food blog featuring original, (mostly) mindful & real food-based recipes -- plus salty scribblings about life, love and all the miscellany that falls into that goofy little crack between the fridge and the cabinetry. When she's not in the kitchen, you can find Em (pretending to enjoy) running, nerding out over marketing, chatting with Momma and planning elaborate vacations that sometimes work out. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Chris, and their three bicycles.