Korean Fried Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 35 min (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
While the Internet is full of Korean fried chicken recipes that use a variety of techniques and ingredients, this recipe stays true to the technique of double-frying to produce the classic crunch. The wings are marinated for a short time in a not-so-typical mixture of soju, garlic and ginger--long enough to flavor the chicken but not long enough to affect the texture. As for the sauce, it is spicy, sticky, tangy and thick, meant to be brushed on the wings right before serving for optimal enjoyment.






Special equipment:
a deep-frying thermometer
  1. For the marinade: Combine the chicken wings, garlic, ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and several grinds of pepper in a large bowl and pour the soju over the wings. Toss to coat, then set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature.
  2. For the sauce: Meanwhile, combine the gochujang, sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru, garlic and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the sauce is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the rice vinegar. Set the sauce aside.  
  3. For the batter: Fill a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with 3 to 4 inches of oil. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 350 degrees F.  
  4. Whisk the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water and whisk until the batter is smooth and very thin (about the consistency of half-and-half). If needed, add more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin the batter.  
  5. Remove about a third of the chicken wings from the soju marinade and dip in the batter, letting any excess drip off. Then, using tongs, hold the chicken halfway in the hot oil for 1 to 2 seconds before letting go completely, as this prevents the wings from sticking to the bottom. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a temperature between 300 and 325 degrees F. Stir occasionally to prevent the wings from sticking. Fry the wings until the coating is crisp but not browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove to a rack set on a baking sheet to drain. Let the oil temperature return to 350 degrees F. Dredge and fry the remaining chicken wings in 2 batches. 
  6. Remove any floating debris and cooked batter from the oil with a hand-held strainer. Increase the oil temperature to 375 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the chicken again until the coating is browned and very crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature above 350 degrees F. Remove the wings with tongs and transfer to a clean rack set on a baking sheet. Let stand for 1 minute to allow the coating to set. Brush all over with the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.