This recipe may seem to have many components, but let me tell you: it's so worth it! The crunchy peanut-coated chicken gets a hint of spiciness from the hot pepper jelly. Paired with a tangy, cool vegetable salad to tame the heat, it's a match made in heaven.
For the buttermilk marinade: Stir together the buttermilk, soy sauce, ginger and garlic powder in a bowl. Pound the chicken to an equal thickness (no thicker than 1 inch; this helps it cook evenly.) Place the chicken in a zip-top bag or shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken, and turn to coat. Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Make the pickled carrot-cucumber salad: Stir together the sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the carrots, cucumbers, radishes and green onions, and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (The flavors will improve with standing time.)
For the peanut-crusted chicken: Pour enough oil into a Dutch oven to reach 3 inches up the sides. Heat the oil to 325 degrees F.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Stir together the flour, garlic powder and ginger in a shallow dish. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate shallow dish. Combine the panko and peanuts in a third shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Dip the chicken in the egg, then in the panko mixture, pressing to adhere.
Fry the chicken in 2 batches, turning occasionally, until browned and crispy and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to drain. Drizzle with the pepper jelly.
To serve, spread the peanut sauce on the buns. Place a piece of chicken on each bun bottom. Top with the pickled carrot-cucumber salad, cilantro and bun tops. Serve immediately.
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