Spicy Korean Fried Chicken
(maeun yangnyum chicken)
Published by Page Street Publishing Co.
KFC anyone? Korean fried chicken is now world-famous, even though those three letters are generally associated with another type of fried chicken. But who wouldn’t love the sticky, finger-licking deliciousness of crisp chicken wings slathered with a spicy sauce? Yes, these wings are spicy, but they are worth every bead of sweat they might inspire. Korean-style fried chicken is often served with a cold beverage, such as beer or a carbonated drink. In fact, it is often referred to as chimak, which is a combination of the English word chicken and the Korean word for beer (maekju). Go on an adventure next Friday evening after work with these hot chicken wings and a cold drink to recover from your hectic week, just as the Koreans do.
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1/2 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons (33 g) Korean chili paste
- 1 tablespoon (6 g) Korean chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) ketchup
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) sweet rice wine (mirin)
- 3 tablespoons (39 g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (40 g) apricot preserves
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
- 3 pounds (1.4 kg) chicken party wings
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pureed fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sweet rice wine (mirin)
- Peanut oil, for deep-frying
- 1 cup (128 g) cornstarch
- 1/4 cup (30 g) finely chopped walnuts, for garnish
In a large bowl, toss the chicken wings with the salt, ginger, black pepper and rice wine; set them aside for 15 minutes.
Prepare the sauce. Grate the onion on a fine cheese grater and place it in a small pot. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix well. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes; remove it from the heat and set it aside.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F (175°C).
Put the cornstarch into a large, resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken wings to the bag and shake well to coat them evenly. Remove the wings from the bag, shaking off the excess starch. Working a small batch at a time, deep-fry the wings until they’re pale golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal strainer, remove the chicken from the oil and give each piece a little shake to remove any excess oil. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel–lined plate and let them sit for 5 minutes.
Return the first batch of chicken to the pot for the second deep-frying and cook until the wings turn slightly dark golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Finish the rest of chicken wings in the same method.
Using a pastry brush, brush the wings with the sauce and sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top. Serve hot or at room temperature.
If you want to try a more exotic flavor, try adding 2 teaspoons (4 g) of curry powder to the chicken when you marinate the wings. It adds another layer of piquancy and goes really well with the chili paste.
Reprinted with permission from Korean Cooking Favorites by Hyegyoung K. Ford, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Hyegyoung K. Ford