Korean Fried Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken

Light, crunchy batter. Spicy, firey sauce. What’s not to love about Korean Fried Chicken?

This is the second or third time we’ve made this recipe, which originally came from the New York Times. Since then, we have found that you don’t really need to follow the recipe. (Though of course, I will give it to you.) All you have to do is use a batter that has slightly more cornstarch than flour, and stir a sauce that’s roughly half korean chili past and half ketchup with a few squeezes of lemon and a few spoonfuls of sugar.

This is not the recipe you make when you want to have dinner prepared in advance, however. You’ll need to watch the pot and serve the chicken soon after it’s fried. (Though it is good cold, standing in front of the open refrigerator door the next morning.)

You can use wings or legs or a combination. We’ve also made this recipe with strips of chicken breast. (They take less time to cook.)

You are supposed to marinate the chicken for at least an hour in a combination of onion and garlic. Just throw it in the food processor and dump it into a bowl, then toss the chicken with it. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Meanwhile, heat your oil to 350.

Then shake off the marinade the coat with the batter. Carefully lay the chicken in the oil.

This will take a while, so you can go ahead and put together your dipping sauce.

Then grab a drink and hang out a bit.

Go ahead, get silly. It’s Saturday night.

Toast the sesame seeds:

Flip the chicken:

Fried chicken can be tricky, so you may wish to cut one piece open to see whether the juices near the bone are clear. Then you can be sure it’s done. After it’s done, drain on a rack or paper towels:

Slather with sauce, and dig in!


Korean Fried Chicken 

From the New York Times and adapted from “Quick and Easy Korean Cooking” by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee (Chronicle Books, 2009)

Time: 30 minutes, plus one hour’s marinating

1 small yellow onion, coarsely grated

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for coating

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for coating

8 to 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, quartered, or 24 wings

3 tablespoons Korean chili paste (gojuchang)

3 tablespoons ketchup

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, more for garnish

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Oil for deep frying

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cornstarch.

In a medium-size bowl, combine grated onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat well. Cover and set aside to marinate for about 1 hour.

In a large bowl, stir together chili paste, ketchup, sugar, sesame seeds and lemon juice. Taste and adjust flavors to get a spicy-sweet-tangy finish. Set aside.

Pour oil into a large heavy pot to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Heat to 350 degrees. Combine flour and cornstarch in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Working in batches to avoid crowding, lift chicken from marinade, dredge lightly in seasoned flour and cornstarch, gently drop into oil and fry for 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken, checking oil temperature between batches.

For wings only, when all pieces are done, increase oil temperature to 375 degrees and refry in batches for 30 to 60 seconds, until very crisp. Drain once more on paper towels. While chicken is still hot, brush thickly with chili sauce. Serve hot, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


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