"Where they come from, no one knows!" - Pop a Poppler jingle
The person who requested this recipe suggested "duck or chicken or preferably quail nuggets with MSG", but they honestly look like popcorn shrimp to me. Fry and Bender also mention they look like fried shrimp or prawns, and the fact that they're sold at Fishy Joe's also seems to imply they're a fishy food (in more ways than one!).
In the end, I decided to go with a popcorn shrimp recipe similar to that served at Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen. The result looks similar - plus, the Popplers jingle sounds like a spinoff of the Popeye the Sailor Man theme song! If you'd rather not have shrimp, simply substitute with bite-sized chicken (or duck or quail) pieces.
- Remove the shrimp tails.
- Mix all dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.
- Heat oil in a large skillet (to approximately 375 degrees F or 190 degrees C).
- Dip each shrimp in the eggs, then the flour mixture. If needed, you can set the breaded shrimp aside on a non-stick surface, like parchment paper. (You can also alternate dipping in flour, then eggs, then flour or panko again to fully coat.)
- Fry shrimp until dark golden brown. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels
- Allow to cool slightly before putting candy eyes on each shrimp. They won't stick well on their own, so you may need to carefully use some honey to help them adhere (optional).
- Combine all ingredients. The sauce should last in the refrigerator for about a week.