Judy Joo’s Korean Fried Chicken

October 24, 2019 Updated: October 24, 2019

Korean fried chicken has been the rage around the world as of late. The extra crispy crust makes it so different and addictive compared to other fried chicken. My secret ingredients are matzo meal, a Jewish unleavened flatbread, which keeps this crust super crunchy, and a splash of vodka, which prevents gluten development.

Makes 24 to 26 pieces

For the sweet and spicy chili sauce: 

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil

For the chicken:

  • 4 tablespoons sea salt, plus an extra 1/2 teaspoon
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and roughly chopped ginger
  • 7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon doenjang (Korean soy bean paste)
  • 3 pounds chicken wings, cut into drumettes and wingettes (discard or reserve the tips for another use)
  • 2/3 cup corn flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the batter:

  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 1/2 cup fine matzo meal
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup vodka

For the sweet and spicy chili sauce: Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan set over a medium-low heat and whisk well. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Cook for about 4 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.

For the chicken: For the brine, add 1 cup water to a large saucepan and add the 4 tablespoons sea salt, black peppercorns, lemon zest and juice, ginger, garlic, onion, leeks, and doenjang. Bring this to a low simmer and stir until the salt and doenjang have dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely. When the liquid is cool, add another 3 cups water. Submerge the chicken wings in the brine, and place into the fridge. After 24 hours, remove from the brine and pat dry. Discard the brine.

To make the pre-coating, in a large bowl mix together the corn flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Add the chicken and toss well until evenly coated all over. Shake off the excess, and transfer the chicken to a rack.

Half fill a heavy-based saucepan with oil and heat to 375 degrees F.

For the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together 2 cups water and the vodka. Just before frying, whisk the wet mixture little by little into the dry mixture. You may not need all of the liquid: the consistency should be relatively thin and runny.

Working in batches, use tongs to dip each piece of chicken into the batter, letting any excess batter drip off. Hold the chicken pieces in the hot oil for a few seconds to seal before releasing them, to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Fry until golden crispy brown and the thickest part registers 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer. Keep the cooked chicken warm in a low oven until all batches are done.

Sprinkle the chicken with sesame seeds and spring onion and drizzle with the sweet and spicy chili sauce, or serve on the side.

Recipe reprinted with permission fromJudy Joo’s Korean Soul Food” by Judy Joo. Published by White Lion Publishing.

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