2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat & cut into 1/2" x 2" slices.
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. rice wine
1/4 tsp. 5 spice powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 cups potato starch or potato flour
4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups fresh Taiwan or Thai basil leaves
3-4 red Jalapeno or Fresno chiles, seeded & sliced
1 tsp. roasted Szechuan pepper-salt
1. Trim the fat from the chicken thighs and slice into 1/2" x 2" pieces. Place in a bowl and marinate with the minced garlic, rice wine, 5-spice powder, sugar, and soy sauce. Cover & refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
2. Heat 4 cups of oil in a wok or deep saute pan over medium high heat.
3. Place 2 cups of potato starch/flour in a shallow bowl or plate; dredge the chicken pieces in flour until well coated.
4. Add the chicken to the hot oil and fry for about 5 minutes or until lightly golden (do not overcrowd - fry in 2 or 3 batches at a time). Remove the cooked chicken to a paper towel-lined platter.
5. After all the chicken pieces have been fried, pour out all but 2 tsp. of oil from the pan. Heat over medium high heat, then add the sliced chiles and cook for 20-30 seconds. Add the fried chicken slices & basil and toss for another 20-30 seconds until well-combined. Season with 1 tsp. of pepper-salt and then remove the chicken to a serving dish.
6. Garnish with additional fresh basil and serve with steamed white rice.