What’s the Secret to a Crispy and Tangy Korean Fried Chicken with Gochujang Sauce?

If you’ve ever been enticed by the mouthwatering aroma of Korean fried chicken, then you’re not alone. This popular Asian dish has rapidly gained global popularity due to its unique blend of flavors and tantalizing textures. But what sets Korean fried chicken apart is its distinctive, ultra-crispy exterior complemented by a luscious, savoury-sweet sauce. In this article, we share the secrets behind creating the perfect Korean fried chicken at home, from the double-frying technique to the final toss in spicy, tangy gochujang sauce.

The Star Ingredient: Korean Gochujang Sauce

A key component of Korean fried chicken is the sauce. The fiery, aromatic gochujang sauce takes center stage, adding a burst of flavor to every bite. Gochujang, a fermented Korean chilli paste, provides the spicy-sweet flavor that is quintessential to this dish. It is made from red chillies, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.

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To make the gochujang sauce, start by heating 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add two cloves of minced garlic and 1 tbsp of grated ginger to the oil and sauté until fragrant. Next, add in 4 tbsp of gochujang, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, and 3 tbsp of honey. Stir the mixture well until it comes together as a thick, glossy sauce. Remember to adjust the heat as needed to prevent the sauce from burning.

Perfecting the Chicken Batter

A well-made batter is the secret to achieving that outstanding crispy texture. The batter should be light and airy to ensure the chicken remains succulent while the coating becomes delightfully crispy during frying.

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To prepare your batter, you’ll need to mix 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1 tsp of baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Then, gradually add in cold water while whisking until you get a smooth, slightly runny consistency. The water must be ice-cold as it inhibits the formation of gluten in the flour, ensuring that your batter stays crispy for longer.

The Double Frying Technique

One of the key secrets of Korean fried chicken’s distinctive crunchiness is the double-frying method. This involves frying the chicken twice, allowing it to cool in between. This process effectively removes any excess fat, resulting in a super-crispy, less greasy skin.

To do this, heat a generous amount of oil in a deep frying pan or a deep fryer until it reaches about 350°F. Dip each piece of chicken into the batter, ensuring it’s fully coated, then carefully drop it into the hot oil. Fry the chicken pieces until they just start to color, then remove them from the oil and let them drain on a wire rack. After resting for a few minutes, fry the chicken again until golden brown and crispy.

Coating the Wings

Once you have your crispy fried chicken and your zesty gochujang sauce ready, it’s time to bring them together. To do this, gently heat the sauce in a pan until it becomes loose and glossy. Add the freshly fried chicken wings into the pan and toss until the wings are thoroughly coated.

Serving Suggestions

The final step in creating incredible Korean fried chicken is serving it in the right way. Traditionally, Korean fried chicken is served with a side of pickled radishes and a cold beer. The pickled radishes provide a refreshing contrast to the spicy and sweet chicken, while the beer helps balance out the spiciness.

Making Korean fried chicken at home might seem like a daunting task, but with these tips and secrets, you’ll be able to create a dish that’s just as good, if not better, than restaurant-quality. The key lies in the preparation of the batter, ensuring the frying oil is at the right temperature, and double-frying the chicken for that extra crispy texture. The gochujang sauce, with its perfect blend of heat and sweetness, adds the finishing touch to this spectacular dish. So roll up your sleeves and immerse yourself in the flavorful world of Korean cuisine.

A Twist to the Batter: The Use of Potato Starch

When it comes to achieving the perfect crispness in Korean Fried Chicken, the choice of coating can make all the difference. One secret weapon often utilized in the creation of this exciting dish is potato starch.

Potato starch can be used in the batter, replacing or used in conjunction with all-purpose flour and cornstarch. The reason for using potato starch lies in its ability to provide an extra level of crispness. Unlike regular flour, potato starch forms a light, crisp crust when fried. This crispy exterior beautifully complements the juicy interior of the chicken.

You can blend the potato starch with all-purpose flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. The baking powder aids in the browning process, giving the chicken a delightful golden color. For added flavor, you can incorporate spices such as garlic powder and black pepper into the batter mix.

Remember to coat the chicken pieces thoroughly with the batter before frying. This allows for a perfect crispy exterior with every bite. The beauty is that the potato starch holds up well to the double frying process, maintaining the crispy texture despite the intense heat.

The Air Fryer Advantage

You might be wondering about the possibility of creating a healthier version of Korean fried chicken. Cue the air fryer. The air fryer offers a less oily but still delicious take on this classic dish.

To use the air fryer, first, preheat it to 350°F. Coat your chicken pieces with the batter as usual, then place them in the air fryer basket ensuring they are not overcrowded. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, then flip the chicken pieces over and continue cooking for another 10-12 minutes. The result is a crispy, golden brown chicken that’s healthier but still packed with flavor.

Remember to coat the air-fried chicken with the gochujang sauce as you would with the traditionally fried version. This ensures that you still get the signature sweet-spicy flavor that Korean fried chicken is known for.

Conclusion

Creating the perfect Korean fried chicken is indeed a labor of love, but with this detailed guide, you can bring this delicious dish to your kitchen. The secret lies in the double frying technique, using potato starch in your batter, and coating the crispy fried chicken with flavorful gochujang sauce. Whether you prefer frying your chicken in hot oil or using an air fryer for a healthier twist, the result is a plate of crispy, sweet, spicy, and tangy chicken that’s sure to impress.

Remember, pairing your chicken with pickled radishes and a cold beer can further elevate the experience, adding refreshing and balancing elements to the robust flavors. So don’t hesitate to experiment in your kitchen, because making Korean fried chicken is not just about following a recipe, it’s about creating a culinary experience. A world of crispy, tangy, and fiery deliciousness awaits you. Your homemade Korean Fried Chicken with Gochujang Sauce is bound to be a hit, whether on a regular family dinner night or a special occasion. Enjoy the ride!