It is only the beginning of February, but I am already anxious to get out of the house. It has been cold and snowy around Chicago, which is not ideal weather for trekking around with a toddler. I love movie nights at home on Saturdays, but some nights I would rather try some of the exciting new restaurants in the city rather than another viewing of Frozen. My current response has been to drool over menus posted for Choose Chicago’s Restaurant Week, spend endless amounts of time trying to decide which restaurants to try, and plot how I can recreate some of these dishes at home. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – just different and exciting. And because I’ve been wanting to go out for Korean chicken wings, I decided create my own version at home. Korean-style Fried Chicken bites are good enough to make you happy about staying home on a Saturday night. Seriously. And yes, I realize that I am on a Korean recipe kick right now, but only because these dishes are too exciting not to share. Plus, these are recipes that will appeal to everyone, not just those that share my love of all things Korean.
I’ve always avoided frying foods for a variety of reasons: What do you do with all of that leftover oil? (It turns out that you can reuse it! Thanks America’s Test Kitchen Radio!) I don’t want to clean up the mess! I can’t find the candy thermometer in my junk drawer… But apparently I avoided frying for too long, because it was actually clean, easy and not at all greasy. This recipe calls for frying the chicken twice. Inexperienced fryers like me might assume that this would make the chicken greasy, but I was happy to discover just the opposite. Double frying gives it a crispy coating that stays crisp all day long. I can vouch for that – we’ve been eating LOTS of Korean-style fried chicken bites at home while I was testing this recipe, and they even stayed crispy in my lunch box the next day. This is the perfect party food – potluck, Superbowl,even a summer picnic. I scaled down the spiciness for this recipe, but you can amp it up with more gochujang if your audience likes it hot.
Korean food is my go-to happy food, and Maangchi has been my go-to source for recipes. This is a family-friendly adaptation of her recipe, although I think you should check out her blog for good substitution ideas. And because she’s really awesome. Who knew that frying could be fun? So crank up your stereo and get to work!
I hope you have some leftover gochujang from making Ssam sauce, but if it is new to you, it may be hard to track down. This is a spicy red pepper paste that is available at most Asian grocery stores. It frequently comes in red tubs, although I occasionally see it in ketchup-style squirt bottles. Annie Chung now makes a version that is more widely available. It packs a punch, so taste it before you start adding more. Sriracha is a good substitute if you can’t track it down.
|Korean-Style Fried Chicken Bites|| |
- 2 lb chicken breasts or tenders cut into approximately 1 inch cubes
- ½ cup corn starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Oil for frying (I use the cheapest oil I can find, but you can use corn oil, peanut, canola, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 4 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon gochujang, plus more if you like it hotter
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- To fry the chicken
- Heat oil up to 360° in the base of a heavy pot – this is the time to use cast iron if you have it. The oil should fill at least 2 inches of the bottom of the pot. Use a thermometer to check the temperature.
- While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken in the corn starch mixture.
- Once the oil is up to the correct temperature, carefully add chicken to the pot. You will probably need to do this in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pot.
- Fry until the chicken turns light brown and crispy – about 6 minutes.
- Add fried chicken to a large heat resistant mixing bowl.
- Wait for oil to return to 360° before adding additional batches.
- After all of the chicken has been fried the first time, wait for the oil to get back up to 360°
- Add all of the fried chicken back into the and fry until it is dark and extra crispy – about 5 minutes
- Add garlic, ginger and sesame oil to a small pan.
- Heat on low until the ginger and garlic begin to sizzle, about a minute.
- Add garlic ginger mixture to a large mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients.
- Add twice fried chicken to the sauce mixture and toss.
- Serve hot.