If your craving for Korean fried chicken after binge-watching South Korean dramas such as Crash Landing On You (2019) is strong enough, you might be motivated to put up with the hot and greasy mess of deep-frying.
For convenience, use Beksul Fried Chicken Powder (labelled Fried Chicken Mix in English). I bought it from Koryo Mart.
The fried chicken powder is essentially a seasoned flour mix of flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, red pepper powder, black pepper powder, ginger and garlic extract powder and nutmeg powder.
The packaging does not come with instructions in English. But with the help of translation apps and some experimenting, I have come up with a recipe novice cooks can use.
Use the flour mix to prepare the batter and a separate portion to dredge the chicken before frying.
Fresh chicken retains moisture and juiciness better than frozen chicken.
Similar to making the batter for tempura, it is best to use iced water for a lighter, crispier crust. Batter made using room-temperature water results in a thicker, harder and heavier crust.
The type of oil used for deep-frying also makes a difference. A light-coloured kind such as olive oil gives fried chicken an appetising golden brown hue.
Olive oil has a smoke point from 198 to 243 deg C. For this recipe, the oil is heated to 165 deg C.
One final tip is to fry the chicken twice as the eventual crust will be optimally crispy.
KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN
- 1kg fresh chicken (four drumsticks, four thighs and three chicken wings)
- 2 flat tsp salt
- 2 flat tsp Korean dried ground garlic (or substitute with 3 minced garlic cloves)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 3 Tbs Korean cooking wine
- 1.7 litres olive oil
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges (for garnish)
FOR THE BATTER
- 200g Korean fried chicken powder (fried chicken mix)
- 1 flat tsp Korean dried ground garlic
- 340ml iced water
200g Korean fried chicken powder (fried chicken mix)
1. Rinse the chicken thoroughly and pat with kitchen towels.
2. Place the chicken in a deep dish.
3. Use a thin skewer to lightly pierce each piece of meat. This allows the marinade to better penetrate it.
4. Add the salt, dried ground garlic, ground black pepper and cooking wine. Mix well and massage the marinade into the meat.
5. Cover the dish with clingwrap and allow to marinate at least four hours, preferably overnight.
6. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
7. In a sturdy pot, add the oil. The amount of oil will vary depending on the pot you are using. Use sufficient oil to get a depth of 5cm so the chicken can be completely submerged during frying. Heat the oil while you prepare the batter and flour for dredging.
8. To prepare the batter, place the Korean fried chicken powder and dried ground garlic in a mixing bowl.
9. Add the iced water and whisk until you get a smooth batter.
10. Place the remaining 200g of Korean fried chicken powder in a dish.
11. Once the oil has reached a temperature of 165 deg C, prepare the chicken for deep-frying.
12. Dip each piece of chicken in the batter, then dredge it thoroughly in the flour. Shake off any excess flour and gently place the chicken in the oil.
13. Fry the chicken for eight minutes. Cook four to five pieces of chicken at a time so that each piece can cook evenly.
14. Remove the chicken from the oil and place on wire rack.
15. Once all the chicken is fried, heat the oil to 165 deg C again.
16. Place the chicken in the oil to fry for another two minutes.
17. Remove the chicken and place on wire rack to drain off excess oil.
18. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon.
Serves four to five
This article was first published in The Straits Times.