Fried Chicken, Two Ways
This post came about because I stumbled upon a video on Federal Donuts. It starts off with a basic Korean fried chicken recipe; something I’m familiar with from repeatedly watching Maangchi lording over her oil-filled wok. They’re twice fried, and at Federal Donuts they take an extra step to cure the chicken overnight to give it the finger lickin’ combo of salty and juicy. The recipe itself is simple enough and you can serve it as it is - but the magic lies in the seasoning they’re thrown into afterwards. Start prepping the chicken the night before you’re planning to serve them and make the chili-garlic sauce either at the same time (refrigerate, then take to room temperature) or 3-4 hours before serving for maximum flavor.
BASIC FRIED CHICKEN
[ 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 bone-in pieces (feeling saucy? do it yourself!) + 2 cups cornstarch + 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cup water + 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder + 2 teaspoon onion powder + 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder + 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning + vegetable oil for frying ]
Salt the chicken pieces with kosher salt and toss with the garlic, onion and mustard powder. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Refrigerate overnight, loosely covered with cling film.
Mix together the cornstarch, flour and 1 tablespoon of salt in a bowl. Whisk in the water to make a thick batter.
In a large saucepot, add enough vegetable oil to reach 5 inches up the side of the pan. Place over high heat and heat the oil to 300°F.
Dip the chicken pieces in the batter and fry for 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a draining rack and increase the oil temperature to 350°F. Fry the chicken for an additional 5 minutes and drain well.
For the dry seasoning, you can use storebought Za’atar spice blend or make your own, using:
ZA’ATAR DRY SEASONING:
[ 1/4 cup dried sumac + 2 tablespoons dried thyme + 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds + 2 tablespoons marjoram + 2 tablespoons oregano + 1 teaspoon coarse salt ]
Take the freshly fried chicken and toss in a bowl of the spices until evenly coated.
Another alternative for the fried chicken is tossing them in a chili-garlic glaze that’s a little closer to flavor to the Korean Yangnyeom Tongdak.
CHILI-GARLIC GLAZE (recipe from Tasting Table) :
[ 1/4 cup garlic-chili sauce (can be storebought) + 1/4 cup soy sauce + 3/4 cup kecap manis + 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar ] OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes
Put all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Take off heat when the sauce has thickened a little. Leave to cool completely.
Take the freshly fried chicken and toss with the chili-garlic sauce.
You can serve these fried chicken with some Japanese pickles that’s seasoned with roasted sesame seeds and, if you can get your hands on them, hijiki seaweed.
[ 2 hothouse cucumbers + 1 tablespoon salt + 1 tablespoon sugar + 3 tablespoon rice vinegar + 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds ] OPTIONAL: 1/3 cup hijiki seaweed.
Halve cucumbers lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and slice crosswise to 1/4 inch thick. Toss with salt in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze to remove as much moisture as you can.
If using, soak seaweed in a small bowl in warm water to cover for about 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess moisture.
Whisk vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl. Add cucumbers, seaweed and sesame seeds and toss to coat. Refrigerate until needed.
I had friends over (who, the night before, put an end to the butterscotch brownie ice cream) help me demolish these. Friends with good appetite are always handy to have nearby.