Korean Fried Chicken

I always get soooo hungry whenever I see fried chicken in Korean Dramas. For some reason, it always looks and sounds so good– perfect golden brown chicken pieces that have such crispy skin with a wonderful crunch to it. I remembered watching “Crash Landing on You” and “The King Eternal Monarch” and just really drooling over the chicken that they were eating on screen.

The secret to Korean fried chicken is that it’s double fried–and what makes it even more delicious is the sweet and spicy glaze—although having it plain is just perfect too. Because of the Korean drama craze here in the Philippines, a lot of attempts and recipes have appeared on the internet.

I’ve tried and tested a number of recipes already, from Filipinos to Koreans and I think I may have gotten the chicken recipe which I prefer the most! To be honest, it’ll be much easier for anyone to buy the Korean fried chicken premix that one can buy in Korean groceries, but when I made this the past week, I didn’t know that we didn’t have it anymore so I resorted to making my own fried chicken mix.

If you don’t have access to Korean groceries and ingredients, here’s a guide that you can use. I’ve incorporated a couple of tips from Aaron and Claire’s Recipe on Youtube, especially because I used Chicken thigh fillets, but I’ve worked through so many recipes and modified a lot of proportions to get it to the taste that to me is quite right.

A Couple of Tips:

If you like fried chicken with bones, make sure to add a minute or two to adjust the cooking time.

Also, in keeping the oil temperature consistent, this depends on the type of stove that you have. It’s best practice to have a thermometer for frying on hand, but not everyone has access to this. Some of the things that I watch out for when I’m deep frying to make sure my food isn’t going to burn are the following:

  • Knowing when the oil is ready – If there are many small bubbles forming around the chopstick, or if you put a little batter and it floats up in 3 seconds or less, the oil is hot enough. Similarly, I try to put flour to see if it fizzles or sinks to check if the oil is ready.
  • Look and sound of the oil when deep frying – I also watch out for the look and sound of the oil bubbles during the process. I know if the temperature of the oil is right when I hear a soft to moderate fizzling sound, rather than a noisy, vigorous sound with big bubbles. This is harder to determine when the item you’re cooking is moist or reacts to hot oil more, so also consider next couple of items.
  • Temperature – Is the oil emitting a lot of steam? It’s most likely that the oil is too hot, you may want to take the pan off the fire for a minute or two to cool down. Does the temperature feel too hot when you hover your hand a feet or two above the pan? The oil is probably too hot as well.
  • Color of the item you’re frying – if the item you’re cooking browns faster than you would like, adjust the heat coming from the stove to lower the temperature of the oil.
  • General Rule – in frying and deep frying, when the oil is hot enough for frying or deep frying, after placing the first batch of ingredients, lower the heat to a medium low.Avoid overcrowding the pan because it’ll lower the oil’s temperature and the food might not be cooked correctly. If there are less items in the pan, you may want to consider lowering the heat some more and actively watch it.

Korean Fried Chicken

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves 5-7

Ingredients:

  • ¾ kilogram of chicken (In this recipe, I used chicken thigh fillets, but you may use chopped chicken pieces or drumsticks and thighs)
  • 1-2 cups of cooking oil
  • 2 cups of Korean Fried Chicken Batter Mix. If this isn’t accessible to you mix the following:
    • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup of potato starch/cornstarch
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • ¾ tablespoon of salt (or more, check the batter for your preference)
    • ½ teaspoon Cajun powder (or if none, a pinch of ground cumin and ¼ teaspoon paprika)
    • ½ teaspoon of curry powder
    • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • Chicken Marinade:
    • ½ cup of soju or vodka OR 2 tablespoons white vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon of salt
    • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • Korean Fried Chicken Glaze, Yangneom style (bit similar to Dakgangjeong) – will coat about half of the chicken
    • 1 tablespoon Gojuchang (Korean Chili Paste)
    • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
    • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon of Gochugaru (Korean Chili Flakes)
    • 4-5 tablespoons of honey (according to taste)
    • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, season the chicken with the chicken marinade ingredients and mix well. I followed Aaron and Claire’s tip to microwave this for 30 seconds, but I still allowed this to sit for a good 10-15 minutes max.
  2. If you’re making the frying powder, mix all the ingredients together. Add 1 to 1 ½ cup of water to 1 cup Korean batter mix. The consistency is different for different flour brands, but the usual ratio is 1:1. The best batter consistency for me is similar to uncooked, room temperature cream. But if you want a thinner or thicker breading, adjust accordingly. The thicker the batter, the thicker the breading.
  3. Place the chicken into the wet batter and coat well.
  4. Then on a tray or bowl, coat the chicken with the dry batter mix. Don’t stress out if you see ridges because that’ll add to the texture of the chicken.
  5. In a non-stick deep frying pan, heat about 1-2 cups of oil.
  6. Once the oil is ready (medium to low medium heat) place the chicken pieces in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes per side (or a total of 6-7 minutes if completely submerged) or until golden brown. Set aside to drain the oil on a cooling rack.
  7. Once all the chicken is cooked, crank the heat up to high and flash fry the chicken for 1 minute and quickly set aside to rest on a cooling rack.
  8. In a sauce pan, add all the ingredients of the sauce. When the sauce starts to lightly boil, turn off the heat and add the fried chicken pieces and toss until the chicken is well coated. Serve and enjoy!

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