Korean Fried Chicken… and Gochujang(Gochuchang) Garlic-Ginger Sauce. I’ve really been enjoying Korean food lately… actually, over the last few years to be more precise. I’m just fascinated with their cuisine. And it’s been quite fun trying to duplicate some of the dishes at home…. trying to:).
I’ve tried my hand at making kimchi (fermented napa cabbage) this past year. Incidentally, I have another batch fermenting right now. But I’ve also made other Korean dishes such as kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew/soup), which I absolutely loved. My very first Korean dish I made was the japchae (sweet potato noodle stir-fry), which I posted some time ago. It’s been my absolute favorite! But over the years, I managed to also cook some kalbi (marinated short-ribs), bibim guksu (noodles with kimchi), bibimbap (mixed rice with vegetables, fried egg, and gochuchang), and some banchan (side dishes).
I know the names of these Korean dishes may sound quite complicated… the names may be, but the actual dishes really aren’t. In reality, most of the dishes sort of play on each other. For example, if you make kimchi, then you can use some of it to make the kimchi stew, or noodles with kimchi. Or if you have some side dishes leftover, then you can make the bibimbap…. which is basically rice with leftover banchan, a fried egg on top, and their special red pepper paste, gochujang.
What I love about Korean food is that many of their dishes are vegetable based. And some of the dishes can be made with the leftovers… as I mentioned above, from previous meals. I really like that, because this way nothing gets wasted, and you make a new dish every time. In any case, I haven’t ventured out too far when making Korean dishes at home. But recently, I made the Korean version of fried chicken, and thought to share the recipe with you…
I’ve heard of the popular Korean fried chicken, known for its extra crunch and delicious seasoned sauce, but I’ve always wondered how it tasted. And since I live nowhere near a Korean restaurant, I just had to make it at home:). So when I came across Saveur’s recipe, I just couldn’t wait to try it. So impatient was I, that I ended up making my Korean fried chicken with breast meat of all things(just what I had in the house). But normally wings are used, or whole chicken parts…. much, much better! The chicken breast dries way too fast … especially since it’s fried twice(key signature of Korean fried chicken). I can only imagine how delicious the chicken wings would be. Love, love chicken wings.
The idea behind Korean fried chicken is it’s extra-crunchy exterior… and the sauce that covers it. It’s interesting because the chicken is only seasoned after it’s fried. Therefore the sauce needs to be well-seasoned in order to provide that extra boost of flavor and seasoning the chicken needs. And I’ve got to say, this sauce packs a ton of flavor! Lots of garlic is used, so you’ll definitely taste it. But the ginger and the other condiments sort of balances out the garlic… still garlicky, mind you, but flavorful. I suppose you could use less garlic if you want. Up to you. Definitely not for the faint of heart:). The sauce is on the saltier side, so please don’t be tempted to add any extra salt to the chicken…. it’s really best left unseasoned.
I’m sure there are a ton of variations on the Korean fried chicken… different types of batter, sauces, etc,. But we really enjoyed this dish. Leftovers were added the next day to our Saturday morning scrambled eggs. Just yummy! Hope you enjoy…
Tip: Make sure your chicken is patted dry before adding it into the batter. Also, use cold water to make the batter…. when the cold batter hits the hot oil, it gives it that extra crunch.
5 cloves garlic (if you feel this is too much for you, opt to use a bit less)
1 (1½”) piece peeled ginger
3 TBS soy sauce(you can use low sodium to cut down salt)
3 TBS gochujang (Korean chile paste)
1 ½ TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS honey
2/3 cup flour
1 TBS cornstarch
2/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 -2 lbs chicken pieces (though I used chicken breasts for this post, I highly recommend chicken thigh meat or chicken wings (about 16))
oil, for frying( I used coconut for mine)
1. Chop garlic and ginger in a food processor. Add soy, gochujang, vinegar, sesame oil, and honey; purée. Put sauce into a bowl.
4. Working in batches, fry chicken until lightly golden, about 6–8 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
5. Return oil to 350˚. Fry chicken again until golden and crisp, 6–8 minutes more. Drain again.
6. Coat chicken in sauce…. if you have leftover sauce, try it as a dip for baked potato wedges. Delicious!