Ultimate KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)

Try this recipe for Ultimate KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) from Judy Joo's cookbook, 'Korean Food Made Simple'
Staff Writer
Ultimate KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)

Jean Cazals

Ultimate KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)

I have always loved fried chicken. But even though I grew up eating it in America, for me “KFC,” stands for Korean fried chicken. There are many different versions, but what they all have in common is a very thin, hard crisp coating, which comes from using potato starch or cornstarch instead of flour, as well as double frying. My take on the dish, which includes vodka and matzo meal, is a little unorthodox and has a fair number of ingredients, but I call it “ultimate” for a reason. Two things make it even better: its customary accompaniment of cubed pickled radish and ice-cold beer.

Excerpted from KOREAN FOOD MADE SIMPLE © 2016 by Judy Joo. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

4
Servings
442
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

For the coating:

  • 1/4 Cup cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 chicken drumsticks, 2 thighs, and 4 wings (with tips)

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 3 Tablespoons Korean chile paste (gochujang)
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the batter:

  • 1/2 Cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 Cup fine matzo meal
  • 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons gochugaru (Korean chile flakes)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 Cup vodka (or any neutral-tasting 40 proof alcohol)
  • 2 Tablespoons gochujang (Korean chile paste)

Directions

For the coating:

In a large bowl, stir together the cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and a generous amount of pepper.

Add the chicken and toss to coat. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack, shaking each piece to remove any excess coating. Let sit, uncovered, at room temperature for about 1 hour. 

For the barbecue sauce:

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients and simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. The sauce can be either served with the chicken or drizzled over it. If you prefer the latter, remove it from the heat on the early side so it’s a little thinner. Set aside; the sauce is best warm or at room temperature.

Shortly before cooking, in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pot at least 5 inches deep, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F.

For the batter:

While the oil is heating, in a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, matzo meal, flour, chile flakes, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the vodka, chile paste, and 1 cup water.

Right before you’re ready to fry the chicken, whisk the vodka mixture into the cornstarch mixture. (Don’t do this in advance or the resulting batter may thicken too much as it sits. The consistency should be relatively thin and runny.)

Working in two batches, with the legs and thighs together as one batch and the wings as the other, dip each piece of chicken into the batter, letting any excess drip off. Suspend the chicken in the oil for a couple of seconds to set the crust before letting it slip completely into the oil; otherwise, it will stick to the bottom of the pot. Fry the chicken, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain. Let the oil return to 350 degrees F before cooking the second batch.

Serve the chicken with the BBQ sauce either drizzled on top or on the side. 

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
5g
7%
Sugar
17g
19%
Saturated Fat
1g
4%
Cholesterol
14mg
5%
Carbohydrate, by difference
80g
62%
Protein
10g
22%
Vitamin A, RAE
442µg
63%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
10mg
13%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
66µg
73%
Calcium, Ca
64mg
6%
Choline, total
33mg
8%
Fiber, total dietary
10g
40%
Folate, total
69µg
17%
Iron, Fe
4mg
22%
Magnesium, Mg
53mg
17%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
5mg
36%
Pantothenic acid
1mg
20%
Phosphorus, P
156mg
22%
Riboflavin
1mg
91%
Selenium, Se
15µg
27%
Sodium, Na
647mg
43%
Water
38g
1%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

Fried Chicken Shopping Tip

Buy whole chickens and ask the butcher to quarter them for you. You will save an average of $5 per pound, or more.

Fried Chicken Cooking Tip

Wash everything that chicken touches with soap and hot water.