We are very lucky here in Seattle, where we have so many restaurants that focus on food from Asia.
It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite among all the intense and transformative flavors these dishes from a multitude of cultures offer. So this week I’m going to focus on a recipe I’ve been craving for a while that’s become a global obsession — and for good reason: sweet, spicy Korean fried chicken.
In this recipe, you will fry the chicken pieces twice. Why? Because frying the first time will force the moisture to gather inside. Letting the chicken rest and frying it a second time allows the meat to have a chance to soak up the juices inside and remain extra crispy on the outside.
It’s the perfect balance of tender, crunchy and sweet with just a kick of heat. I hope this becomes one of your favorite obsessions as well.
Sweet, spicy Korean fried chicken
Large frying pan or heavy deep pan
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
½ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon minced ginger
1/3 cup cornstarch
Canola or peanut oil for frying
Garnish options: sesame seeds, green onions, slices of fried garlic
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine or mirin
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
3 tablespoons honey or 4 tablespoons corn syrup
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
- Cut the thighs or breasts into bite-size pieces.
- Place chicken bites into a small bowl and pour the milk over the chicken pieces. Let marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Then drain the chicken pieces in a colander.
- In the small bowl, gently mix together the chicken pieces, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger. Let the mixture sit and marinate for 30 minutes.
- In a large saucepan, mix together all of the ingredients for your sauce. Turn the heat to high and watch the pan closely: When the sauce starts to make small bubbles, reduce to medium low. Simmer the sauce for three to four minutes until it visibly thickens. Take pan off heat and set aside.
- Take your marinated chicken pieces and roll each one into the cornstarch. Coat each piece well.
- Take your large frying pan or heavy deep pan and pour in 1 inch canola or peanut oil. When the oil is just bubbling on the sides of the pan (about 330 degrees), using the wire tongs, carefully place your chicken pieces into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pieces — you most likely will have to do this in two batches. Cook for about three minutes. They should be a very light color. Remove each piece separately and place on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat.
- When all the pieces have been fried, check the temperature of your oil and reheat it back to 330 degrees. Refry the pieces for one to two minutes (you can do this step in one batch) until all the pieces are a deep golden-brown color.
- Reheat your sauce over medium low and then add in the fried chicken. Cover chicken pieces evenly. Garnish your chicken with sesame seeds, green onions and slices of fried garlic and serve!