Monday, December 14, 2009

Korean Fried Chicken

There's a lot of hype in the food universe these days about Korean Fried Chicken. Some call it Korean Fried Crack, others just say it's damn delicious. The other day, my chef at work was singing the praises of KFC, Korean not Kentucky , so I decided to do a little investigation. As today was my day off and I had no interest in completing my Christmas shopping, I decided to see what all the hubbub was about and try my hand at some of this Korean goodness.
After some Googling, I found enough info to come up with a good game plan. First, I had to get some chicken. Drumsticks and wings were my cuts of choice, due to the fact that breast meat has less flavor and a greater chance of drying out, in my opinion.

Next I made a marinade of 1 sweet onion, 10 garlic cloves, 2 T of ginger, 1 T of sriracha, salt, pepper, & a little oil.

Blast that shit in the processor until it looks like this,

Now we get our hands dirty. Pour this marinade over your chicken pieces and rub it all over. Get it under the skin, but be careful not to rip the skin away from the chicken. It will leave you with a funny looking finished product and the crispy skin will not completely encase your chicken.
Also, for those who don't like getting their hands dirty, invest in some latex or nylon gloves. They're inexpensive and save you the time of washing your hands. Here's what your meat pile should look like

I put this beautiful bowl of pungently garlicky chicken in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours to let the flavors develop. You could let it sit overnight if you want, but I have a pregnant wife who was gonna be home soon looking for dinner, so I went with the minimum.

Fast forward 1 1/2 hours and the smell that hit me when I opened the fridge was what I would image God's farts smell like. Unbelievably delicious.

I quickly washed off the marinade. I did this because if I fried the chicken with the marinade still on it, the marinade would burn way before the chicken was done and give the chicken a burnt taste. That would be bad. After washing off the marinade, I dried the chicken on a towel, laid it on a wire rack and salted the skin.

The salt on the skin draws out the moisture. This makes for a crispier finished product. Once I saw the moisture develop on the skin, I dried it with some paper towels and resalted. I repeated this process 3 time before dredging the chicken in Wondra flour. Wondra flour should be called Wonder flour. It is great for pan frying fish, thickening sauces, frying Korean chicken, etc. A must have in any kitchen.
To avoid a dusty, floury mess, I use a big ziploc bag to dredge my chicken.

After all my chicken is coated, I remove it from the bag, shake off any excess Wondra and return it to the wire rack.

Here is where I let it sit for about 20 minutes. This lets the flour stick to the skin and form what will be the first layer of our crust. After the 20 minutes I flour it again and fry at 350F for 10 minutes. This helps to draw the rest of the moisture out of the skin, helping to achieve the crispiness which KFC is known for.

After 10 minutes drain the chicken on some paper towels. We will fry it one more time before we chow down.
Here's what it should look like after the first fry.

Turn the temp on your oil up to 375F for the final fry. Once you are up to temp, fry your chicken for about 1 more minute, until a nice golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
Here is where the magic happens. I've kept this quite until now, but this is THE key piece in this recipe. It's called the Octo Vin. Make this before you start the chicken. It is from Momofuku and their $100 fried chicken dinners.
When your chicken is drained and still hot, toss it in the Octo Vin. Be warned, the smell may make you pass out from sensory overload. The hot chicken and the soy/vinegar sauce make for one of the best combinations I have ever smelled/tasted in my life. Here's what it looks like.

I served the chicken with a slaw of cabbage, green bean, clementine, sriracha, rice vinegar, honey, coconut milk, salt & pepper.
Awesome meal. I think next time I would use just the chicken wings. As good as the drumsticks were, they were not as flavorful as the wings. Buffalo wings have nothing on Korean fried chicken.


George Green said...

awesome post chef ra. i need to make this asap

Dr. D. said...

Do it! Also, add some more beer posts. I have some ideas cookin for the site. I'll hit you up later.

Sammer said...

Looks good!!! Can you bring them by my house on Sunday????? (free of charge, obviously)