Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Korean Fried Chicken is the Best Fried Chicken

I've always considered myself something of a fried chicken expert. Whether we’re talking sports bars, casual dining, or white tablecloth restaurants, if there's some kind of fried chicken on the menu, I'm going to order it. 

Because of that fact, and my advanced age, I’ve pretty much had every single style known to man, and this Korean fried chicken is officially my favorite. No other method I've come across has the same combination of tender, juicy, flavorful chicken, and plate-scratching crispiness as this recipe does. It's simply a must try if you're a fan of the genre. 

The technique is very straightforward, and you can actually do the first deep-frying ahead of time. In fact, I did a little test where I waited 24 hours before doing the second frying, and the results were still quite extraordinary. If you’re doing this for a larger group, the chicken will stay crisp, as long as you hold it in a warm oven (175 F.), while you finish frying the rest. 

Don't forget the sauce! Click here for recipe!
I highly recommend the boneless skinless thighs here, but chunks of breast meat will work as well. I believe real “KFC” actually uses chicken on the bone, but that means bigger pieces, and bigger pieces mean less surface area, which ultimately means less of the amazingly crunchy coating. By the way, I’ve tried beer and soda water in the batter, and for whatever reason, plain ice water works the best for me. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going out to buy some Korean chili paste (Gochujan), because apparently it's a crime against nature to make the sauce without it. Like I said, I've used it before, and really liked it, so I need to go out and replenish my supply, and get back into the good graces of the Korean people. Anyway, if you like fried chicken as much as I do, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions Korean Fried Chicken:
(Note: these ingredients make enough batter for about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of chicken, even though I only used 1 pound here)

For the chicken marinade:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, quartered
1/2 yellow onion, grated (enough to generously coat chicken chunks)
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tsp fine salt (1 1/2 tsp if using kosher salt)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black
*Marinate for between 4 to 12 hours

Ingredients for batter:
1/2 cup of self-rising flour (or 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with 3/4 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt)
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup very cold water, or as needed

Serve with this Korean Fried Chicken Sauce.

41 comments:

Vinny Ferrara said...

I don't own a deep fryer and I've never fried anything before, but I really want to make this. Do you have any suggestions on doing so?

Al Moynee said...

hello chef, works only with chicken thighs? or it could work with chicken breast as well???

thank you

Chris said...

Great idea Thankyou. Going to try serving it with Pommes Macaire, as long as that's not sacrilege? (Scare-bleu-lege??)

hangook_sonya said...

what about drumbsticks? would it need to fry for longer?

Dick said...

Chef John,

Which oil did you use for frying?

Thank you

Chef John said...

Vinny,
You can deep fry in a pot as long as you have a thermometer to check temp!

Al, read the post! ...and as always, enjoy.

Chef John said...

I used canola oil, but peanut also works great!

Mark Youngman said...

What do you do with the oil once you have fried with it?

Toshiko Suisei said...

Looks NOM Chef John! Will try it very soon. Looking forward to that crunch and that spicy special sauce.

And it's a great tempura batter too - using ice water! Try the same batter with some traditional tempura vegetables, and shrimp too, skipping the 1st fry. Enjoy with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce ^.^

Michael said...

Chef John,

I'd like to do more frying but my Dutch oven attempts have not gone well. The capacity is something I've been worried about with countertop fryers. The one you're using looks great though. What brand and how big is it?

Chef John said...

Its a Cuisinart CDF-100! 1 liter size

Chef John said...

I strain the oil and put it back in to use another time.

Dick said...

Chef John,

One more quick one - would this batter work for something like fish 'n chips? (cod, etc.)

Thank you!

Chef John said...

This would work on anything you can fry!

TBG said...

Hey, Chef. You do realize that Korean fried chicken IS KFC don't you? LOL ;)

Liz Reynolds said...

(From my experience) most fried chicken in Korea is bone in, BUT the town I lived in was well known for its amazing delivery food (which made college students like myself very happy), including boneless fried chicken. In fact, in that town I only knew one place that left bones in the chicken and that was for charcoal grilled chicken. I can't wait to give this a try and see if it's similar!

Liz Reynolds said...

Oh, and not super important, but it's "gochujang" not "gochujan" :)

Chris K. said...

What's a drumbstick?

John Battlenet said...

Hi there,
I did chichen breasts instead of thighs in a pot. Used regular sunflower oil(cheap one) and without a thermometer. I even tried some with double batter. 2x4 minutes.'

Here are my results :)
http://postimg.org/image/jj5f2vfy1

P.S: Love your work Chef John, been following your blog for about 4 years. You pretty much inspired me to start cooking. Thank you for everything.

Jeremy Hale said...

CJ,

I'm making this tonight, but only for 1 person. I have the full lb of chicken marinating right now, but I only want to fry/eat half of it. Would it be ok to dip all of them in the batter and then freeze, or should I freeze both components separately?

Chef John said...

I would probably freeze them after the 1st frying, and then thaw and fry just once to reheat. Good luck!

Chef John said...

Looks great, JB!

david said...

Hiya Chef,
Love your stuff, and every now and then I brave one of your recipes. Love Fried Chicken and tried this tonight. Great recipe and pretty easy.I reused a strained oil and wonder if it might have been a little better had I not.
Can I ask...what do you think? Have you ever seen a drop in quality when you've reused oil? Or you no difference?

Ed Adams said...

Chef, these turned out great, thank you. I did have to almost double the amount of water however. 1 cup of water just turned my dry ingredients into a wet brick, about another 2/3 cup and it was ready to go. They were so incredibly crunchy.

stanley zielinski said...

Chef, we have tried many of your recipe's and most of them we have liked and had again but this one...OMG!! This truly IS the best fried chicken I have ever had and I couldn't stop eating, my wife had to take away from the table and put in the fridge. It also tastes as goog and crispy the next day heated it the toaster oven! Thanks for sharing!

Mark Toffle said...

Just made a batch. What I found:
I used the actual self rising flour. I was very careful with the measurements but I found I needed a lot more water than the recipe suggested 1/2 cupj to get a thin batter. Tastes great!

Serving mine with boiled rice with chopped dill. A pleasant new discovery.

mthammer11 said...

Made this for my family tonight to rave reviews ! Really tuned out well. Served it with steamed broccoli and fresh watermelon. Finished the meal with your coconut milk rice pudding. Fantastic meal. Thank you for the inspiration and great blog!

Christine Peart said...

Great pic John battlenet! Mine looked just like that. My family totally devoured this, even my fussy 15 year old! Will be making it again soon, maybe with breast, it was a little greasy. But, thanks soooo much chef for the top recipes :-)

Alex M said...

Attempted this tonight, and the sauce was delicious but the chicken didn't turn out right. I had three batches. During the first frying, Batch 1 turned out best. Batch 2 was slightly darker. Batch 3 was golden brown. All of them were fried for 4 minutes. During the second frying, each batch turned black within a minute.

Does anyone know why this might have been an issue? For context, I used Sunflower Oil. I suspect the oil might have been too hot, but I'm curious if there are any other explanations.

Chef John said...

If they turned black within a minute, the oil was WAY too hot. ;)

Bridget Gregory said...

Love this recipe! Crispy and delicious!

Aaya Elsayed said...

does it matter which oil i use? because I'm most probably using sunflower oil. let me know if it would work just as well.
thank you for the recipe

Chef John said...

I like canola and peanut, but any high heat veg oil works!

Ansar Syed Abrar Ahmed said...

Chef John, Can I do this to a fish?

Chef John said...

Yes, if it's a firm fish. Nothing thin and watery.

Justin McKenzie said...

Chef John, I made this chicken and the Korean style sauce last night, and it came out amazing! Best part was my wife actually liked the sauce and asked for more. She doesn't usually like spicy foods. I have been trying several of your recipes lately, all are incredible! Thank you for you channel!

Angie M. said...

We made this recipe once and my husband and I are making it again tonight. The chicken is just as crispy as in the video. Chef John, you are amazing. Thank you for doing the best recipes we've ever had.

Deborah Warner said...

I recommended this recipe to a friend who need a Kosher Fried chicken recipe. They loved everything! In fact, they've taken to adding the sauce to the marinade and cooking it up all hot and spicy. They were eating it at the stove with both hands! I do make it to the table with mine -- barely!

findagapepappas said...

Dear Chef? I wrote you were going to use the Korean chile paste " gochu jang "? Are we missing something ?

Chef John said...

I said that's what you're supposed to use, and that I needed to get some. I wasn't planning on another video of it though.

80sailors said...

Made KFC last night...FABULOUS