Taiwanese Fried Chicken and Pumpkin Waffles

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Taiwanese fried chicken is combined with the popular fall flavors of cinnamon, pumpkin and sage in this original chicken and waffle recipe.

One of my closest friends is Taiwanese, and so of course I had to ask her what her favorite Taiwanese dish is. She told me straight away that I have to make Taiwanese fried chicken (aka Taiwanese popcorn chicken or salt and pepper chicken). It looked tasty from the photos I saw online and seems to be a very popular street food in Taiwan. I tried different recipes and always asked my friend if it met her standards. It took some tries, but I finally got her approval. However, I always like to add my own spin to recipes and decided to make Taiwanese fried chicken and waffles with some autumn flavors.

Adapted Taiwanese Fried Chicken

I did adapt some of the flavors since some of the ingredients weren’t already in my pantry. I may adjust the recipe to make it more authentic, but I am quite happy with this “inspired” Taiwanese fried chicken recipe for now. While I use five spice powder as the main seasoning, you will see online that most recipes ask for ground sichuan peppercorn. I also use mirin instead of shaoxing wine. You could also add a bit of cayenne powder for a kick of heat. I fry fresh sage leaves instead of the usual basil leaves in Taiwanese fried chicken.

Fried Chicken Batter – Thick Sweet Potato Flour

I think the trickier part of this fried chicken recipe was getting the crust right. I tried to use the fine sweet potato flour from H-mart, but it was difficult to consistently get that classic, crumby-textured crust. There is one recipe that said to spray the flour with water to create crumbs. It did work, but it also required a long rest time. I finally decided to get the thick sweet potato flour online. I couldn’t find this at H-mart. The crust is consistently crunchy with the right texture, and there is no required rest time. I also find it crunchy enough to not require a double-fry.

If you’re looking for more fried chicken recipes, make sure to check out my yangnyeom chicken recipe.

Pumpkin Waffles

I was already coincidentally working on a pumpkin waffles recipe while I was finalizing my Taiwanese fried chicken recipe. I felt that the warm Asian spices from the five spice powder could pair well with the pumpkin and cinnamon flavors of the waffles and decided to give it a try. The usual fried basil leaves of Taiwanese fried chicken are replaced with fried sage leaves for its earthier taste and because it nicely complements the pumpkin flavor. And to no surprise, this combination of Taiwanese fried chicken and pumpkin waffles actually works.

White Whole Wheat Flour

These pumpkin waffles are made with white whole wheat flour and so are slightly heftier than what you would expect for a waffle. However, I actually prefer this because I can taste more of the pumpkin. Most of the pumpkin waffle recipes I tried barely tasted like pumpkin, and I could only taste the cinnamon. White whole wheat flour is also healthier than white flour. You get more nutrition and additional fiber from the whole grains.

Hope you enjoy!

Mise En Place

Taiwanese fried chicken (mise en place)
Pumpkin Waffle (mise en place)

If you make these Taiwanese Fried Chicken and Pumpkin Waffles I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag me on Instagram!

Taiwanese Fried Chicken and Pumpkin Waffles

Taiwanese fried chicken is combined with the popular fall flavors of cinnamon, pumpkin and sage in this original chicken and waffle recipe.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Fusion, Taiwanese
Keyword: Chicken, Fried, Pumpkin, Sage, Waffle
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs (bite-sized cuts)
  • 1 cup thick sweet potato starch
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup fresh sage leaves
  • maple syrup

Taiwanese Fried Chicken – Marinade

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic, crushed (about 4 cloves)
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 egg (egg white only)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp mirin

Taiwanese Fried Chicken – Dry Salt Seasoning

  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground white peppercorns
  • ½ tsp ground black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp five spice powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

Pumpkin Waffles – Dry Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cup white whole wheat flour (300g)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar (40g)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Pumpkin Waffles – Wet Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (and 2 tbsp) milk
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste


Taiwanese Fried Chicken

  • Stir the chicken marinade ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  • Mix in the chicken until the pieces are evenly coated. Let it sit for 15 minutes in the fridge.
  • Heat the canola oil in a deep pan to 350°F.
  • Add the sage leaves in a single layer, and let them fry for about 30 seconds or until they crisp up. Transfer them to a cooling rack or over some paper towels on a plate.
  • Add the thick sweet potato starch to a large bowl.
  • Going piece by piece, toss the chicken in the sweet potato starch, making sure each piece is well coated.
  • Carefully lower the coated chicken into the oil, and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. Transfer the chicken to a cooling rack. Try not to crowd the pan with the chicken bits and fry in batches.

Pumpkin Waffles

  • Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat the batter. Having some lumps of dry ingredients is fine.
  • Bake the waffles in the waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions. (E.g., I bake each waffle at medium high heat for 7 minutes)

Chicken and Waffles Assembly

  • Add a pumpkin waffle to a plate.
  • Top the waffle with a few pieces of fried chicken.
  • Mix together the fried chicken dry salt seasoning in a small bowl and sprinkle some over the fried chicken.
  • Add some fried sage leaves and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve immediately.

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