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Ultimate Korean Fried Chicken

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 27 hr (includes pickling and resting times)
  • Active: 1 hr 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Pickled Radish Cubes:

1/2 cup (113 grams) rice vinegar

1/2 cup (113 grams) water 

1/2 cup (113 grams) superfine sugar or caster sugar 

1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt 

1 pound (about 500 grams) daikon radish, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

Pre-Coating:

1/4 cup (32 grams) cornstarch or corn flour

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

10 grinds black pepper 

2 chicken drumsticks, 2 thighs and 4 wings with tips (bone in, skin on)

2 chicken drumsticks, 2 thighs and 4 wings with tips (bone in, skin on) 

Gochujang Sauce:

80 grams dark brown sugar

70 grams Korean chile paste (gochujang) 

30 grams soy sauce 

15 grams rice vinegar 

14 grams sesame oil 

1 teaspoon grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, grated 

Sweet Soy Sauce:

250 grams soy sauce

100 grams dark brown sugar 

60 grams mirin 

30 grams rice vinegar 

6 grams sesame oil 

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon Korean chile flakes (gochugaru)

2 cloves garlic, grated 

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or corn flour

Batter:

Oil, for frying

1/2 cup (70 grams) cornstarch or corn flour 

1/4 cup (34 grams) fine matzo meal 

1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour 

2 tablespoons Korean chile flakes (gochugaru) 

1 tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt 

2 1/2 teaspoons garlic granules 

2 1/2 teaspoons onion granules 

1/4 teaspoon baking powder 

1 cup (237 grams) water 

1/3 cup (75 grams) vodka 

2 tablespoons Korean chile paste (gochujang) 

Directions

  1. For the pickled radish cubes: Combine the rice vinegar, water, superfine sugar and salt in a large bowl, whisking until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the radish cubes and toss to coat. Leave at room temperature, covered, for 24 hours. Then refrigerate.
  2. For the pre-coating: In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, salt, baking powder and pepper. Add the chicken and toss well until evenly coated in all areas. Transfer the chicken to a rack, shaking the chicken well to get rid of any excess coating. Let rest, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  3. For the gochujang sauce: Combine the brown sugar, chile paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and allow to cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
  4. For the sweet soy sauce: Heat the soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, chile flakes and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved; allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Mix the cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and whisk into the sauce. Bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. For the batter: Pour enough oil into a 6-quart Dutch oven to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the oil reads 350 degrees F.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, matzo meal, flour, chile flakes, salt, garlic granules, onion granules and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the water, vodka and chile paste. Just before frying, whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture. The consistency should be relatively thin and runny.
  7. Working in 2 batches, dip each piece of chicken into the batter, letting excess batter drip off. Suspend the chicken in the oil for a couple of seconds for it to set before letting it slip completely into the oil, otherwise the chicken will fall and stick to the bottom of the pot. Fry the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes per batch. Transfer to a wire rack to drain as done.
  8. Serve with the sauces on the side.
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