Korean crunch

Run a knife around the drumstick knuckle before frying, and you get that neat lollipop effect, like the piece in back

Remember that Korean Fried Chicken article in the New York Times a few months back? The spicy-sweet sauce-slathered chicken served in Korea with cubes of daikon pickle?

Okay, well, I do. (Please don’t ask me what my children’s birthdays are, though.)

A bit of googling brought up this possible recipe. It reflects most of the method described in the Times article – shaking chicken drumsticks and thighs in flour and cornstarch, frying partway, taking the chicken out to cool, then frying it again.

Sauce is applied shortly before serving, to preserve the crunchiness of the crust.

The spicy version of the sauce is no doubt revved up with a stiff dose of kochujang, Korean red chile paste. Since I was making this recipe for civilian use – that is, my wife and children – I’d have to resort to the sticky sweet soy version.

One possible drawback was immediately obvious: What if all the flavor was in the crust? The Times article mentioned that the Korean places use smaller chickens, for a better crust-to-meat ratio.

P4220171
That’s a serious crust, and it holds sauce well

So I let the chicken rest in a little soy sauce for an hour, with more chicken soaking in Frank’s hot sauce in a second bowl.

I set up my Fry Daddy in the garage to keep the smell out of the house, and set to frying.

It wasn’t until I was into my second batch that the light dawned on Marblehead, as they say in Massachusetts. This recipe takes a long time: about 25 minutes per batch, which for me was four pieces. If you’re doing it for a crowd, you had best start a couple hours early. But would the crust stay crisp that long?

The answer, happily, was yes. Held in a warm oven, the crust resisted wilting, and the application of sauce. The urchins clamored for some to take to school the next day.

P4220173
They kept coming back for more

It’s a keeper. Moist insides, robust, crispy crust, zippy sauce. Next time I’m going to make the serious Korean-level sauce and take the experiment all the way.

I would like to try this with smaller chickens, because I thought there was a bit too much meat. But no one at my table complained.

(I’m reproducing the original recipe below. I cut it in half, and skipped the onions, peppers and sesame seeds on my children’s behalf. I did not use an egg in the coating.)

A Lot of Korean Chicken
Posted on Metafilter by onalark

15 pounds chicken (wings, thighs, drummettes, whatever)
4 cups flour
4 cups cornstarch
2 quarts oil (corn or vegetable)

1-1/2 cups shoyu
1 cup sugar
3 stalks green onions, sliced thinly
3 crushed garlic cloves
2 hot peppers, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Heat oil in a frying pan or deep fryer to 350 F.

Warm shoyu in a saucepan, gently stirring in sugar until it’s dissolved, add green onions, crushed garlic, minced peppers, sesame oil, and sesame steeds.

Dredge the chicken lightly in the flour and cornstarch (add a raw egg to the mixture for crispier skin). Fry for 10 minutes, shake and let cool for two minutes, then fry again for another 10 minutes. Remove chicken from oil, shake again, and dip in mixing sauce, then let cool for another 2-5 minutes. Ono!

O yes.

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4 Comments

Filed under poultry, recipes

4 responses to “Korean crunch

  1. Deborah

    This looks amazing.

  2. Deborah

    Made this over the weekend, and it was a hit.

  3. Excellent. Did you make a spicy sauce, or just stick to the sort-of-teriyaki?

  4. Deborah

    I omitted the hot peppers in deference to the five year old.

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