Hey everyone! I meant to get this one out before the weekend, but time just got away from me. However, as far as I’m concerned, it’s never too late to enjoy Korean Fried Chicken!
My first Korean Fried Chicken experience was when I was home from college on winter break. I say, ‘experience’ because it truly was an experience in every sense of the word! Stepping into a little hole-in-the-wall joint I was greeted by a kaleidoscope of sounds, smells, and languages. People from across the globe seemed to have all converged into this tiny little space, all to order Korean Fried Chicken (the other KFC). The wings were amazing! Tender, juicy, crispy, slightly sweet and a nice kick of heat! I devoured them much like a child would eating their first ice cream cone; my fingers (and perhaps even my face) were orange and sticky – I was in foodie bliss. Gochujang (a Korean chile paste) is what gives these wings such great flavor and heat. Generally you can find this at any Asian grocery store. A good friend of mine introduced me to it, and I cook with it all the time now! If you haven’t used it before, trust me, it won’t be one of those ingredients you buy for one dish and then never use again. Mark my words, gochujang will be the next ‘sriracha craze’. It has an umami flavor that sriracha just doesn’t have, leaving your tastebuds with a full-bodied experience. Just be aware that gochujang varies greatly in spiciness – depending on the brand, it should indicate the level of heat somewhere on the packaging. I use ‘med-hot, level 3’, but feel free to purchase whatever spice level that suits your tastes. (Note – some people find level 3 still pretty hot. If you tend to be sensitive to spicy foods, er on the milder side).
Where this dish begins to deviate from traditional Korean Fried Chicken, is the buttermilk marinade. Commonly used in the American south, buttermilk contains properties that help to tenderize meat (much like daikon radish does in Asian dishes).
- 2 pounds small chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and wingettes separated
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons gochujang, divided*
- 1½ cups cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
- canola oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, garnish
- 1 scallion, finely chopped, garnish
- In a large zip-top bag, add the buttermilk, 1 tablespoon gochujang, and whisk to incorporate. Add the chicken, push out the air, seal well, and move the contents around to make sure each piece is coated well. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours and up to 8, turning the bag occasionally to evenly distribute the marinade.
- When you're ready to cook the chicken, drain the marinated pieces throughly in a colander. Combine the cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat, set aside.
- To make the sauce - in the bowl of a food processor, add the ketchup, garlic, the remaining gochujang, zest of one orange and its juice, soy sauce, cider vinegar, honey, and ginger. Puree until as smooth as possible. Transfer the contents to a sauté pan and bring to a simmer stirring occasionally. As soon as the sauce begins to bubble, immediately turn the heat down to medium-low and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes, until slightly thickened. Turn off the heat.
- Heat 2-inches of oil in a heavy bottomed pan to 320 degrees F. Working in 2-3 batches, shake the excess cornstarch mixture from the chicken and carefully add one piece at a time. Cook for 6 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove the chicken and allow to drain on a cooling rack or a plate lined with a paper towel. Be sure to bring the oil back up to 320 degrees F before each new batch and monitor the temp as the wings cook.
- For the 2nd fry, increase the heat to 375 degrees F. Fry the wings again, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the wings to a cooling rack and allow to drain again.
- Reheat the sauce over medium-low heat and add the chicken. Just before serving toss to evenly coat. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped scallion and serve immediately so they stay crispy. Enjoy!
Question: You mentioned adding miso, how much, and would I have to alter any of the other ingredients?
These look absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to make these for my family!!!!
Hi Maida! Thanks so much for the question! The recipe (sans miso) is correct. I made the mistake of simultaneously writing up the story of my Korean Fried Chicken post and my Miso Glazed Salmon dish, a post that does use both miso and gochujang. Thanks so much for catching that for me – I’ve gone ahead and made the edit to my write-up. I hope you and your family enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!
Your food always catches my eye! And I love gochujang, it definitely has more depth of flavor. Can’t wait to try these crispy and spicy bits of heaven!
Thanks so much, Meg! Gochujang is one of my favorite kitchen pantry staples! And I totally agree, the depth of flavor is just incredible!
I NEED to try this :3
I hope you do! Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
M G says
Great looking chicken! Will add same amount of cornstarch as flour and let you know how it turns out when in get some gochujang to try this delicious looking chicken. Thanks for sharing.
Hi there! Thanks for your kind words! I hope you enjoy the dish and thanks so much for stopping by! I’m looking forward to hearing how it turns out 🙂
I’m a huge fan of fried chicken, although I don’t have it very often! This Korean one looks amazing, can’t wait to try it! Love the idea of marinating it with buttermilk, it should be very tender! Pinned for later!
Thanks, Mira! I’m a big fan too! Big time comfort food! 🙂
Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says
I have never tried Gochujang, but I’m completely intrigued. Every picture in this post makes my mouth water!!
Oh you defiantly need to give it a try! It has such a wonderful umami flavor with a kick of heat – so great!
Helen @ Scrummy Lane says
Thanks so much for introducing me to gochujang. I had actually never heard of it (blush) but now I not only know that it’s delicious but that it’s going to be the next big thing! And yes, I heard it first here! 😉
Absolutely love the look and sound of this chicken. Who doesn’t love a nice crispy bit of chicken, and especially if it’s as flavoursome as this!
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to introduce you to gochujang! But don’t be embarrassed, I was only introduced to it about 6 months ago – but I haven’t been able to stop cooking with it ever since!
I will never have too much chicken wings and these are just fabulous! I love Korean seasonings a lot but never thought about using them as wings marinade. I don’t usually fry things at home but this is an exception!
Thanks, Maggie! I don’t do a lot of frying either…but there are just some dishes that are just plain better fried! I hope you enjoy these! 🙂
I’m obsessed with Gochujang too 🙂 Ever since I discovered David Chang. Oh and also my crazy hairdresser is this eccentric Korean lady and we always talk food when I’m getting my roots done. She dictates the recipes while brushing dye on my roots and I jot them down in my iPhone. And many of her sauces involve Gochujang.
You are literally my hero right now. I woke up and sleepily reached for my phone to check my messages. Saw this in my inbox and bolted upright. Literally SO excited! I have never made Korean chicken before. THIS is the recipe I’m trying!
Nagi, you always make me blush 🙂 That is SO cool that you have a foodie hairdresser with inside tips! I hope you enjoy the dish!
Culinary Ginger says
Wow, that chicken looks so crispy and I love gochujang. I can’t wait to try this soon.
Thanks! Isn’t gochujang the best!? I hope you enjoy the dish!