Korean Style Fried Chicken

Korean Style Fried Chicken

Olympic Fusion Food
The Olympics start this week. Opening ceremonies are Friday night but there are some events that have already started a competition. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you will know how much I love the Olympics. Especially the Winter Olympics.

Why do I love the Winter Olympics? Because you get to watch sports that at any other time you would never watch. I’m not saying that I am setting my alarm so that I can sit down and watch a curling match but I AM interested in the biathlon and speed skating. Sure figure skating is cool and downhill skiing is always exciting, but ever since Eddie The Eagle, I am a fool for the ski jumping competition.

The best part of watching the Olympics is that I know for a couple of hours each night, my entire family will be in the same room watching the same thing. That may not sound like a big deal but getting everyone in the same place doing something together (and not on their phones) is a rare thing. So, since I will have their undivided attention, I plan to make the appropriate fare for watching the competition.

For watching the Opening Ceremonies It makes sense to make something with a Korean flavor. Since it is Friday night, there won’t be any time for an elaborate dinner but a little pre-made Kim Chi from our Produce department is a good start. Of course, you could always go the bulgogi route because its quick, easy and tasty but I want to do something a little different.

While searching for recipes I found this one which is perfect. It’s a nod to the host country but still allows for a little national pride ‘cause what’s more American than fried chicken? I like the boneless skinless thighs because they cook quickly but you could easily do this with whole chicken legs or even wings. Traditional recipes call for the chicken to be fried twice but I’m not that patient….

Korean Style Fried Chicken
Adapted from NY Times Cooking recipe by Julia Moskin

Fried Chicken, or chicin, became popular in Korea because of American cultural influence around the Korean War. In South Korea, fried chicken is consumed as a meal, an appetizer, or as an after-meal snack.

1 small sweet onion, coarsely grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for coating
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for coating
8 to 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, quartered,
3 tablespoons Korean chili paste (we use Mother-in-Law’s Gochujang (sesame) Fermented Chili Paste)
3 tablespoons ketchup
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, more for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Peanut Oil for deep frying (can substitute with canola oil)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup potato starch or cornstarch

Make the Marinade
In a medium-size bowl, combine the grated onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat well. Cover and set aside to marinate (about 1 hour).

Make the Chili Sauce
Toast the sesame seeds either by placing them in the toaster oven or on a dry skillet on the stovetop on low heat. When they begin to smell fragrant and slightly darken, remove them from the pan or tray onto a plate. Don’t walk away while you are toasting them, as they get dark quickly! And, taking them off the hot pan or baking sheet will prevent burning.

Prepare the Chicken
In a large bowl, stir together the chili paste, ketchup, sugar, sesame seeds and lemon juice. Set the bowl aside.

Pour the oil into a large, heavy pot to a depth of 1-1/2 inches. Heat the oil to 350º F. Combine the flour and cornstarch in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Working in batches to avoid crowding, lift the chicken pieces from the marinade. Dredge them lightly in the seasoned flour and cornstarch and gently drop the chicken into the hot oil. Fry the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally. When they become golden brown and crisp, remove them from the oil, and drain the chicken on paper towels. Repeat this procedure with the remaining chicken. Make certain to check the oil temperature between batches.

While chicken is still hot, brush thickly with chili sauce. Serve hot, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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