Saturday, July 26, 2014

Korean Fried Chicken

I love pronouncing the word gochujang. The sensation of my tongue rolling out rounded syllables is so satisfying. As satisfying as using gochujang. For those of you who are confounded, I'm talking about a sweet spicy Korean condiment, ubiquitous in their cuisine. I use it liberally as a marinade, sauce or part of a stir fry. It gives color, flavor, spice and a thick coat to the meat it adheres to. 

Bon Appetit publishes a marinade for pork. I use it as a stepping stone. Instead of mirin and sake as the recipe indicates, I use fish sauce. And a ton of garlic and ginger. I also let it marinate overnight. If I'm going to eat chicken, it had better sit in it's marinade for a looong time. But you don't really have to employ the overnight option. A few hours and it's ready to be grilled. I let the chicken sit out of the fridge for an hour before I grill it. As I slide open the lid I have a senior moment. Did I make Korean fried chicken or is it a tandoori marinade?? It's looks identical!!! A whiff of chili reminds me of the contents. 

I debate the prospect of grilling outside vs inside. The Weber will result in a solid char and less clean up. The grill pan gives me great grill marks and no mosquito bites. A third option materializes as I spy a saucepan of bacon grease, left over from the BLTs we have for lunch. What wouldn't taste good fried in that stuff!!! I pour off most of the grease, leaving enough to fry the chicken in. A dusting of rice flour gives the chicken a crispy crust. The crust would definitely be different if I use the grill options. A cold soba noodle salad and sauteed bok choy rounds out my fried chicken dinner.

Serves 3-4

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless Chicken Thighs
1/2 cup Gochujang paste
2 tablespoons Garlic paste
1 tablespoon grated Ginger
3 tablespoons Fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup Rice Flour ( frying option)
4 tablespoons Canola oil if frying
Scant tablespoon Oil if using grill or grill pan

Wash and trim all the fat that's visible. Cut thighs into 2 or 3 pieces.

Mix gochujang, garlic, ginger, fish sauce and salt in a non-reactive bowl. 

Add chicken to bowl, stir and coat chicken with marinade. 

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Bring chicken to room temperature when you are ready to grill or fry.

The next step is the frying method.

Spread rice flour on a plate or wooden cutting board.

Heat oil in a nonstick saucepan.

Lightly coat chicken with rice flour and place in hot oil carefully. You can fry up to 5-6 pieces depending on the size of the saucepan.

Let the chicken crust up for 4-5 minutes before you flip to the other side.

Remove chicken and let it drain on a paper towel.

Finish all the chicken pieces this way.

Serve the chicken hot and crusty. 

You could easily fry the chicken earlier and reheat it in a 350F oven for 10 minutes before serving. 


Outdoor grilling---Start up the gas or charcoal grill. The latter will of course take longer. If you use a gas grill, once the grill is hot, lower heat to medium, switch off the middle burner and grill chicken for 8-9 minutes on on side and 5 minutes on the other. Use the same times for a gas grill.

Indoor grilling--- Place the grill pan over high heat. Start the exhaust fan. Spray with cooking oil spray and arrange chicken on pan. Let chicken cook for 8-9 minutes on one side before turning over the cook the other side for a further 5 minutes.

The chicken is crispy, crunchy and fork tender. The pile diminishes rapidly. Once again I am a reticent poultry convert. Glenn and Rehan enjoy the fried nuggets way more than me. Then again it isn't always about what pleases me. I am just thrilled that the funny sounding chile paste makes my husband and son relish their dinner immensely.