Sunday, May 3, 2015

Korean Style Fried Chicken with Gochijang Sauce

 
What is your favorite drunk/morning after food?
 
For the morning after, it's always eggs and some sort of green vegetable with cheese. The night before can be a little different and ranges from pizza to chicken to anything else that's greasy, crispy, spicy and delicious.
 
Yesterday our group of friends went to the Virginia Gold Cup. Everyone dresses in their Kentucky Derby best and watches a steeplechase style horse race in the middle of nowhere. There's plenty of food, more than plenty of booze, lawn games and great friends. It was my first year doing it, but it was a fantastic time. I got to wear my magenta taffeta dress that I love (and Steve hates) and I got to force him to purchase white linen trousers (which are now his favorite plants).
 
In the evening when we got back home, our group had to decide whether we wanted to go to a 24 hour diner near our house, or whether we wanted to go to Bonchon. I'd just made this friend chicken recipe a few weeks before so I vetoed Bonchon in favor of omelets, pie, milk shakes and home fried potatoes.
 
If you don't know what Bonchon is, it's a Korean fried chicken chain restaurant. What is Korean fried chicken and what differentiates it from KFC? Korean fried chicken has a batter coating, not a breading coating like normal Southern fried chicken. It is super crispy, even when covered in sauce. It has just the right amount of salt and it is perfect when topped with a spicy/sweet sauce made with fermented chili paste. You really need to try this chicken the next time you feel like wings at home.
 
Try to make this with smaller, bone in pieces for even cooking, a better crust/meat ratio and more moisture. I like using legs, wings, thighs or Cornish game hen quarters. This recipe is an exact duplicate of the Serious Eats recipe for Korean Fried Chicken. Seriously, you don't need to change a damn things about this.

Ingredients
  • 4 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup corn starch, divided
  • 1 tsp baking powder, divided
  • 2 lbs chicken pieces
  • 1/2 cup ap flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 quarts oil for trying (I do a little less, whatever works well for your wok)
Ingredients for Sweet and Spicy Gochujang sauce
  • 1/4 cup gochujang
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp seseame oil
Directions for sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients for sauce and adjust seasoning to fit personal tastes. Add a little water if necessary to achieve correct consistency.

Directions for chicken
  • mix 2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup corn starch and 1/2 tsp baking powder in a bowl. Toss chicken with the mixture and place on a rack in the refrigerator uncovered overnight for the skin to begin to dry.
  • The next day, heat oil to 350 in a wok or a dutch oven.
  • Combine half cup corn starch, 1/2 tsp baking powder, flour, water, vodka, and the other 2 tsp kosher salt in a bowl and mix. Add more water as necessary to achieve a the texture of thin paint. Add the chicken to the batter at a couple pieces at a time, shake to remove large pockets of excess batter and place gently in the oil for 8 minutes or until cooked all the way through and evenly browned.
  • Drain on paper towel while frying the remaining wings. Toss immediately with sauce (or serve on the side if desired) and eat.

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