Our recipe for “Korean fried chicken”

Posted by in Mike's blog

In our house, “KFC” has nothing to do with Christmas or Kentucky.

We found this recipe in the Ishikawa JET Kitchen cookbook – the pdf file that taught us how to use the foods we didn’t understand in the supermarket and how to translate some of the common items that we hadn’t been able to find (like flour, baking soda and cornstarch) when we first arrived in Japan.

The recipe in the Ishikawa JET Kitchen was adapted from this New York Times recipe, which was adapted from “Quick and Easy Korean Cooking” by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee. The version here has some of our own modifications, making it…4 times removed from the original, which is called “Yangnyeom Dak” in Korean. It makes enough for me, Mary and the bunny and we usually have a few leftover pieces for the next day’s lunch.

1 onion, coarsely grated
2 cloves garlic, also grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons Korean chili paste (gojuchang)
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, more for garnish
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Oil for deep frying
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cornstarch.

0. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, remove all of the yucky stuff. With tissues nearby, grate the onion and garlic into a medium-size bowl.

1. In that same medium-size bowl, combine grated onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat well. Wash the chicken+marinade goo off of your hands, then cover and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
2. In a very large bowl, stir together chili paste, ketchup, sugar, sesame seeds and lemon juice. Set aside.
3. Pour oil into a large heavy pot or frying pan to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Heat to 350 degrees. If your chopsticks bubble after being placed in the hot oil, it’s hot enough. While the oil is warming up, combine flour and cornstarch in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.
4. Working in batches to avoid crowding, lift chicken from marinade, dredge lightly in seasoned flour and cornstarch, gently drop into oil and fry for 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken, checking oil temperature between batches.
5. When all pieces are done, increase the oil temperature and refry all of the chicken for around 60 seconds, until very crisp. Drain once more on paper towels.
6. While the chicken is still hot, dump it (all) in the very large bowl that the sauce has been patiently waiting in. Stir gently until every piece of chicken is entirely covered with delicious sauce.
7. Serve over rice. Steamed broccoli is a great side dish for this, so is kimchi. Kimchi goes well with everything!