I think KFC Night might mean something different in my house. Nothing against the Colonel mind you, but make my fried chicken Korean please! Shatteringly crispy and glazed with a sticky sweet and spicy sauce, Korean Fried Chicken is having a real moment lately. Even Shake Shack has been getting in on the fun. We first started serving it a couple years ago in the restaurants as a special, and it always sells out. There’s just something about it that’s so addictive.
I have made this recipe several times at home to insure it comes out perfectly every time, even if you’ve never made fried chicken before. Once you do make my Korean Fried Chicken, you’ll never want any other kind of KFC.
What Makes Korean Fried Chicken So Good?!
There are so many reasons and one of them is the sauce! Made from Korean pantry staples like gochujang, it really takes the chicken over the top! It’s spicy, sweet, garlicky, and a little smoky. What’s not to love? And then the marinade adds another layer of flavor. Don’t worry, this one doesn’t need an overnight soak- but if you want to get it out of the way the day before, I think that’s not a bad idea. The marinade guarantees a tasty chicken under the tasty crust. Speaking of crust…the secret to its almost glass-like crispiness? Frying twice, and using potato starch instead of flour. Potato starch fries up much crispier than wheat flour, and it holds that crisp for far longer. Using potato starch makes this fried chicken gluten free, although the sauce is not :(.
Wait For Right Temperature
Once the oil is at the proper temperature, it’s time for the first fry. If you don’t have an oil/candy thermometer, you can check to see if you have the right temperature by dipping one chicken wing into the oil. If the oil immediately bubbles around the wing, it’s ready to use. Add half the wings to the oil, and leave them undisturbed for the first few minutes. This allows the coating to set so you can keep all of that crunchy goodness from flaking off. Fry for a total of 10 minutes.
Once you’re done frying the first batch, then fry the second half of the wings, also for 10 minutes. Most people, including me, do not have a large wok or something wide and deep enough, to accommodate 2 1/2 pounds of wings in one go. So you’ll need to fry in batches. But for the second fry, you can put the wings all together into the oil and again cook for 10-12 minutes.
Frying Twice Makes All the Difference
These wings are different from a typical fried chicken, which usually fries at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. The slow and steady heat, combined with the double fry, really allows the crust to get unbelievably crunchy without burning. Make sure to strain out any bits floating in the oil after each fry, or they will burn and add a bitter flavor. It’s also important to allow the oil to recover heat between fries so you start the chicken off at the right temperature each time.
However, don’t make the assumption that double fry equals dry chicken. The lower temperature keeps the chicken tender and juicy while giving the crust enough time to get extra crunchy. You’ve gotta try it to believe it.
Finally, it’s time to add the magical Korean Fried Chicken Sauce! We bring out the aroma in the garlic with a little oil and then heat up the sauce to coat the wings. The sauce is boldly flavored, so you’re looking for a light coating on each wing. Do not let the sauce cook down too much in the pan or you will not have enough for the entire batch of wings.
Serving Korean Fried Chicken
If you just can’t get enough of Korean flavors, try serving this with spicy bean sprouts and radish kimchi. Koreans always serve fried chicken with cubed sweet and sour radish pickles; maybe a future post! For now, if you’re eager to try it, I would recommend using the brine in the banh mi recipe and cutting the daikon or Korean radish into mini cubes instead of shredding it.
For an excellent pairing, a little ice cold beer to offset the spice would hit the spot. This Korean Fried chicken is so delicious; I know you’re going to love it too. Make sure to rate or drop a comment below, and let’s see your gorgeous platters of crispy red chicken-tag us in your insta pics @funkyasiankitchen.
Korean Fried Chicken
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: serves 4 1x
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Korean
- 2 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 3 Tablespoons ketchup
- 4 Tablespoons gochujang
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ½ pounds chicken wings, cut into drummette and wing
- 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- a teaspoon ground garlic
- a teaspoon of salt
- ¼ ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Korean chili flakes
- 1 egg
- Oil for frying (vegetable or peanut works best)
- 1 ½ cups potato starch
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
Make the sauce:
- In a small bowl combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ketchup, gochujang, and sesame oil.
- Stir and set aside.
Prep the chicken:
- In a large bowl, combine the wings, ginger, soy sauce, ground garlic, ground black pepper, salt, Korean chili flakes, and egg.
- Mix to combine, making sure all of the chicken is smeared with the marinade. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large deep skillet or dutch oven for 10 minutes over medium heat. You will need about 3 inches of oil. If you are using a thermometer, the temperature should read 325.
- While the oil is heating, mix the potato starch with the baking soda well. Coat your chicken by dredging it through the potato starch mixture. Set aside on a plate and dredge all of the other pieces.
- Dip one wing in the oil to see if it is the right temperature. The oil should immediately start to seize and bubble around the piece. If not, continue heating the oil for several more minutes before frying the chicken.
- Add half of the wings, one by one, into the oil gently. Do not touch the wings for the first 3 minutes to allow the crust to set. Cook the wings for an additional 7 minutes and then take the pieces of chicken out and set it aside in a bowl. Using a strainer, scoop any foam or impurities from the oil. Let the oil come back to the correct temperature, about 3 minutes.
- Then add the other half of the wings to the oil. Again cook for 10 minutes and then take the chicken out and put it with the other pieces.
- Scoop any foam or particles floating in the oil and let the oil heat up for 3 minutes, letting it come back to temperature.
- Next we are going to fry the chicken again. Add all of the chicken into the oil. It’s ok if it’s a little crowded. Fry the chicken for an additional 10-12 minutes until the chicken is golden and very crispy.
- Drain the chicken on paper towels while preparing the sauce.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Put 1 Tablespoon of neutral oil and the minced garlic into the pan and cook for 10 seconds. Add the sauce and cook for 30 seconds to heat it. Add the wings and move the pieces around to coat the chicken evenly.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the wings to a large platter, Serve immediately.
* If you would like to get a head start on the wings, go ahead and marinate the chicken the day before you’re going to be frying the wings. The flavor will penetrate the wings better and you will have one step out of the way.
*Are you one of those people who loves cold fried chicken? Me too! And this chicken retains its crispy texture even cold. Unfortunately it does not reheat well (the crust gets a little soggy and the sugar in the coasting tends to burn if you get a little too aggressive re-heating it), so just eat any leftovers cold!
Keywords: korean fried chicken, korean food, spicy, gochujang