On the Table with Hazel: Korean “Fried” Chicken

Photo by Hazel Oh

Well, hello there everyone — long time no nothing! I have taken a slight hiatus because whoa, the last couple months have been some TRYING times! We have been hearing about Covid-19 for months now but I never thought “we” would ever actually go into lockdown. It feels wrong to talk so cavalierly about the pandemic when so many people are suffering from both the disease and other consequences that it’s brought to the world. I want to thank all the essential workers from our healthcare professionals to our caregivers, janitors, supermarket workers, truck drivers, radio DJs, and everyone else working in these times to make the lives of those of us who are at home as normal as possible. I was at my local Pak’n’Save the other day (shout out to Mt Albert Pak’n’Save, thank you so much for all you people do!) and one of the sales assistants handed me spring onions she was stocking and I nearly cried because I’m a dramatic Leo.

Oh, and another round of applause for everyone working from home! From uni students to office workers, I don’t know how all of you seem to pound out work while being stuck at home. Also, parents with children? You guys? Absolute queens. I barely see my family at home but mixing more than 5 sentences with them exhausts me. I can’t imagine what life is like right now from having to work from home plus trying to entertain bored children to boot.

As for me, I have been trying and FAILING to stay alert and productive. Even memes about Zoom meeting makes me feel guilty and I feel like I should be improving my CV, doing online Excel courses, and learning new languages while trying to get a bigger ass by doing 30-minute full body workouts. The only way I can shut up the capitalist guilt demon is to cook elaborate semi-labour-intensive dishes I would have normally avoided cooking — faffing around in the kitchen making unnecessarily delicious foods really jogs the serotonin! One of these TLC-required babies is my Korean “Fried” Chicken. Yes, you heard it right: the viral food of 2k18, Korean Fried Chicken! Every “cool” eAtErY had their own version of Korean fried chicken and while not all of them were up to my Korean ajuma standards, definitely was a sight to see what they were passing off as Korean Fried Chicken (yes, I’m shady, and no, just because it has gochujang in it, it does not mean that it is KOREAN xoxo). And believe it or not KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) is actually super easy and my version is pretty damn foolproof, plus it doesn’t require frying! I feel like we should still eat somewhat frugally, and I can’t justify using a litre of oil just for 1 dish. Also, frying always scares me a little, which is just as well because otherwise I would be making donuts and hot chips and fried chicken every other day.

I like to use just the wings for my KFC as these babies are baked in the oven. You can use thighs and drumsticks and other parts of the chicken, but wings don’t take longer than an hour to cook in the oven and the marinating period is less than 20 minutes. Need I go on? You can use more chicken than I did in my recipe; just double the sauce so you have enough to coat every inch of the wings in the good stuff! The only important thing about these wings is that you have to keep an eye on them as they require turning during the time they bake.

I had many requests for this recipe when I posted the photos for it on my Instagram, so I hope you all have a go! The sauce is super easy and it’s pretty much the same as the one we made for my Swicy tofu! As always with my recipes, you can add as much or as little of the different flavours. More spice? More gochujang! You can’t eat spice at all? Just add a smidgen of gochujang, a little more soy sauce, ketchup, and sweetener! The key to cooking well is to improvise and TASTE everything as you go. You got this! So for your next weekly shop, grab some wings or chicken nibbles and a tub of gochujang and get cracking! My KFC is a big red dripping glossy number that will impress your whānau and your Insta followers while shutting up your capitalist guilt demon!

 

Korean “Fried” Chicken

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1.2 kg* of chicken nibbles (wings)
    • *You can double the wings but remember to double everything else in the recipe as well!

Marinade

  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of mirin (optional)
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of white pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar


Flavour coat

  • 50g of corn flour and 50g of standard flour (if you have no corn flour, you can use 100g of standard flour)
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of white pepper (if no white pepper add 2 tsp of black)
  • 1 tsp of curry powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt


Sauce

  • 1 tbsp of gochujang
  • 2 tbsp of dry sweetener of choice (like sugar)
  • 1 tsp of liquid sweetener of choice (like golden syrup or honey)
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of mirin (or water if mirin was not available)
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of minced ginger
  • 1 tsp of sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp of ketchup

 

Method

Chicken prep

  1. Give the chicken wings a little rinse under the tap, then let them drain, making sure that there is no excess moisture from the wash.
  2. Pop the wings and all the marinade ingredients into a bowl. Mix well so every piece of chicken is coated in the marinade. If you are doubling the wings, I suggest that you also double the marinade.
  3. Let this rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes while you prepare the coating mixture.


Flavour coat mix and cooking the wings

  1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until well incorporated.
  2. Take the wings out of the fridge. You can tell if they are ready by the colour of the flesh of the wings. They should be caramel-coloured and fragrant with the ginger and garlic.
  3. Preheat the oven to 210°C.
  4. Place a couple wings at a time into the flour mixture and make sure they are dusted well with the flour.
  5. Place the coated wings onto a baking tray, preferably with on a roasting rack so the excess can drip onto the baking tray. However, if you don’t have a roasting rack, just make sure to at least place baking paper on top of the cooking tray; this will help if the excess fat starts to smoke.
  6. Place the tray of wings on the upper middle rack of the oven. The placement is important because placing the wings on the bottom rack will slow the cooking process and will also hinder the rendering of the fat — if it’s high in the oven, the wings will cook too quickly and burn!
  7. Check the wings once 25 minutes pass, flip them to ensure even golden cooking, and give them another 25 minutes on the newly flipped side. Flip them again and bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. Once the wings are an even dark golden colour and no pink liquid seeps out when you poke the flesh, the wings are fully cooked. The whole cooking process should take around about an hour depending on your oven. I personally like my wings crispy and slightly overcooked so I like to leave them in the oven longer for another 6 to 10 minutes under the grill setting, but this is totally optional.


Sauce

  1. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat gently on low heat so the sauce thickens. The sauce is ready once the garlic and ginger is fully cooked or when the sauce is the same consistency as golden syrup.


Final steps

  1. Once the wings are out of the oven, place them in a deep bowl and smother the wings in the ready made sauce. You can toss or gently stir the sauce onto the chicken until evenly coated in the sauce!

 

Taadaa — that wasn’t so bad! Serve it hot and you can add extra sprinkles of nuts and seeds of your choice. The wings are extra tasty with beer or coke for those of you who do not drink. Enjoy!

About the author
Hazel Oh