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Dish of the Week: Korean Fried Chicken

Thin, crisp crust is the key to Korean fried chicken.
Thin, crisp crust is the key to Korean fried chicken.
Photo by Arnold Gatilao

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're taking on Korean fried chicken.

Korean-style fried chicken is fried twice, resulting in a skin that's way crisper than your average fried chicken. It's actually less greasy, too. That's because the fat in the skin renders completely, making it paper thin and crackly.

For extra flair, the twice-fried chicken is also often twice-seasoned, once before and once after frying. The flavorful chicken is a popular bar food or after-meal snack in Korea. There, you'll find it at nearly any mom and pop place around, usually being served with pickled radishes, beer, and Korea's most well known alcoholic beverage, soju.

Because the chickens used in Korea are younger and more tender, wings and small drumsticks are often served in Korean-style chicken places in the United States. This recipe, from Serious Eats, uses just wings that get coated in a batter of cornstarch, flour, water, and surprisingly, vodka. The vodka limits gluten development and evaporates quickly when it touches the hot oil, meaning these wings crisp and brown faster so they only need to be fried once (much easier). A bit of baking soda is added to form thin bubbles throughout.

Korean Fried Chicken serves 4

Ingredients Kosher salt 3/4 cups corn starch 1 tsp baking powder 2 lbs chicken wings (about 12 whole wings) 2 qts peanut oil or vegetable shortening 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup cold water 1/2 cup vodka For serving: Sweet Soy Sauce or Sweet & Spicy Chili Sauce

Directions

In a large bowl, combine 2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Add the wings and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to a wire rack, shaking vigorously to remove excess coating, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.

When ready to fry, heat oil to 350 degrees in a large wok, Dutch oven, or deep fryer.

Add remaining 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 tsp baking powder, flour and 2 tsp salt in a large bowl, whisking until well-combined. Add in water and vodka and whisk until a smooth batter is formed, adding up to 2 tbsp of water if too thick. It should have the consistency of thin paint.

Add half the wings to the batter. One at a time, lift a wing out of the batter, allowing the excess to drip off and using your finger or a spatula to remove any large pockets of batter. Carefully lower the wing into the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining wings in first batch. Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate the wings as they cook, until each wing is evenly golden brown and crisp all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season immediately with salt. Keep warm while you repeat the process and fry the remaining wings.

Serve plain, or toss with sweet soy sauce or sweet chili sauce (sauce can also be used as a dip on the side).

See more Dishes of the Week: Dish of the Week: Coq Au Vin Dish of the Week: Argentine Chimichurri Dish of the Week: Flourless Chocolate Cake Dish of the Week: New England Clam Chowder Dish of the Week: Beef Stroganoff Dish of the Week: Hushpuppies Dish of the Week: Irish Soda Bread Dish of the Week: Pastitsio Dish of the Week: Chicken Tikka Masala Dish of the Week: The Cuban Sandwich Dish of the Week: Chicken and Chorizo Empanadas Dish of the Week: Potato Kugel


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