I adore fried chicken, whether it's nuggets of chicken 65, a leg or two chopped up on a mee goreng in Malaysia or even a KFC (sorry chickens). I think the crisp coating is the perfect way to pep up what can be an underwhelming meat. With fried chicken the light flavour of the bird works perfectly, adding the texture that all meat eaters love whilst allowing whatever is on the outside to shine, and let's admit it - the coating is the high point.
With this in mind when I heard of the double-frying method of Korean Fried Chicken - the first rendering fat from the skin, the second crisping up - that left the skin delicate and thin and with crunch that didn't go, I had to find a recipe and give it a try. Add to this a fiery sauce, packed with flavour from the fermentation of the chilli, and it stayed on the to-do list for far less time than most dishes. I read a few American websites, where it seems to be a popular dish, and played with them until I got this, whether it's traditional I don't know but it is damn tasty.
There's one slightly awkward to get ingredient in this and that is the aforementioned Korean fermented chili sauce, or gochujang, and unfortunately it's the main ingredient in the sauce. It was easy enough to find in London though (in the Korean section upstairs in Gerrard Street's New Loon Moon), or you can buy it online and according to this you can even make it. It really is worth trying to get some as the flavour is quite distinctive, although if you're more fussed about trying the crunch than the sauce I guess you could try using sriracha instead but the taste won't be the same. Alternatively just cook the wings using this method and dip them in whatever sauce you fancy.
Korean Fried Chicken
1kg - 1.25kg of chicken wings
Plain flour to dust
1/2 cup plain flour
1 TB cornflour
1 cup water
1/2 ts salt
1.5 to 2 TB gochujang
1 TB light soy sauce
1 ts sesame oil
2 ts rice vinegar
1 ts sugar
1 clove of garlic
For the sauce grind the garlic to a paste with the back of a knife, a pinch of salt helps here. Mix this with all the other sauce ingredients and you're done.
Next off you need to prepare the wings. I may make myself look like a bit of an idiot here but I always wondered where fried chicken shops got those tiny little drumsticks from, I thought the chickens they came from must have been tiddly to walk around on such stumpy legs. It was only whilst preparing these that I realised they were part of the wing and suddenly the talk of Korean fried chicken aficionados ordering upper- or lower-wing made perfect sense. If like me you've never prepared a chicken wing this photo may help, and it clears up the stumpy leg confusion too.
Mix the batter ingredients into a thin batter then coat the wings in it, again shaking to remove excess - it's all about a delicate coating here. Once this is done fry in 150C oil for 8 minutes.
Remove into a sieve and - you guessed it - shake vigorously to remove any lose bits, Korean chicken doesn't have the spare batter that southern fried chicken does.
Turn the heat up and let the oil reach 180C then fry the wings for another 3-4 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
Remove the wings and drain well on kitchen paper then place into big bowl with the sauce, tossing until the wings are thinly coated all over.