“While its American cousin is generally brined and diluted in flour and butter, Korean fried chicken has a thick, almost paperlike skin not heavily battered.”
Crispy, crunchy, and covered in thick, sweet & spicy gochujang sauce, Korean fried chicken is a lip-smacking dish. Once you taste it, you will keep licking your fingers.
If you are bored with eating the chicken cooked in the same way and now looking for a unique flavour, then this recipe is for you. Pair it up with a chilled, refreshing beer and there you have your combo of a delicious meal with chilled beer, the flavour of which complements each other.
Korean fried chicken, as the name suggests, hails its origin from Korea and the story of its origin is very interesting
So Before knowing how to make Korean fried chicken, first let’s look into what is Korean fried chicken and from where and how is it originated.
What is Korean Fried Chicken?
Known by the name, “Chikin” in Korea, Korean fried chicken is a dish that is enjoyed usually on the weekends with beer.
This divine combination of Korean fried chicken and beer is known by the nickname: Chimaek, where “chi” stands for Korean fried chicken and “maek” stands for Baekje( Korean word for beer). While cooking Korean fried chicken, keep in mind certain things:
- Course: main/ appetizer
- Servings: 4 servings
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Cooking time: 30 minutes
- Total time: 45 minutes
Origin of Korean Fried Chicken
The origin of Korean fried chicken is pretty interesting.
Koreans used to eat chicken either by steaming or boiling it with ginseng roots. The fried chicken was introduced to the Koreans by US military troops positioned in Korea during the Korean War in the 1940s. At that time US military soldiers only had chicken to celebrate Thanksgiving day. They fried it and shared it with fellow Korean soldiers, Koreans who were tasting fried chicken for the first time instantly liked it.
Although the fried chicken was introduced to the Koreans at that time, it took years for fried chicken to become popular. After Korean War, South Korea became one of the poorest countries in the world at that time.
But the popularity of fried chicken started to grow as cooking oil and chicken started to be cheaply available in the 1970s. And fried chicken grew more popular when Lim’s Kitchen, the first Korean fried chicken franchise started in South Korea inspired by Kentucky Fried Chicken in the US.
So, now that you have seen an interesting story of the origin of Korean Fried Chicken, let the article take you in to see how to make the best Korean fried chicken.
What is Different About Korean Fried Chicken?
Is there any difference between Korean Fried Chicken and American Fried Chicken? The American fried chicken is generally brined and diluted in flour and butter, but Korean fried chicken has a thick, almost paperlike skin, not heavily battered.
Types of Korean Fried Chicken
- Huraideu-chikin (fried chicken) – Huraideu chicken is the most basic fried chicken which is also called as Huraideu.
- Yangnyeom-chikin (seasoned chicken) – Yangnyeom chicken is a fried chicken, which is covered in a sweet and spicy sauce made using adding gochujang sauce.
- Banban (half-half) – Banban is a Korean fried chicken which is offered half seasoned and half plain. It is also called as yangnyeom ban, huraideu ban (half yangnyeom, half huraideu).
- Ganjang-chikin (soy sauce chicken) – It is a Korean fried chicken covered in a sweet, garlicky, and savory paste made using ganjang (soy sauce).
- Padak (scallion chicken) – It is a Korean fried chicken covered with or dampened with thinly minced scallions.
- Honey-Chikin (honey sauce chicken) – This Korean fried chicken is made using soy sauce chicken and is covered with sweeter and sticky honey.
Why is Korean Fried Chicken so Crispy?
Korean style of frying chicken is very unusual, reflecting the traditional Asian-style technique, where fried chicken renders the skin fat out to a thin crackling crust. The heat in oil is remarkably low at 330 degrees, also chicken is cooked separately. And, Korean-style fried chicken uses slightly thin potato starch which makes the exterior crunchy and crispy.
What is Gochujang?
The main tasters in this Sauce are sauces made from the Korean spicy paste Gochujang. It is the primary flavor ingredient in the chicken in this recipe. Gochujang Sauce is readily available at some supermarket chains in an ethnic food section or the local Asian markets.
Types of Chicken used in Korean Fried Chicken
First, there is a need to know what type of chicken is best for making Korean fried chicken. You can use different chicken parts for making Korean fried chicken, it depends on your choice, and the best chicken parts for making Korean fried chicken are:
1. Chicken Wings
Chicken wings are the best components of chicken you can use for making Korean fried chicken wings. Chicken wings have a higher skin to meat percentage than any other part of the chicken, and frying them deep makes them crispy and hence they are more flavorsome.
2. Boneless Chicken Thighs
Boneless chicken thigh is more tender and can withstand high cooking temperatures and long cooking times. Also, boneless skinless chicken makes frying quick and easy.
3. Chicken Drumsticks
Chicken drumsticks are good for frying as it contains firm meat which is perfect for frying, it stays super crunchy from the outside while tender from the inside.
4. Boneless Chicken Tenders
Boneless chicken tenders are faster to cook as it doesn’t have bones, it is great for white meat lovers. So, one can try this option as well.
Can Korean Fried Chicken be made in an Oven or Air-fryer?
If you are a diet-conscious person and don’t like fried chicken, you can bake it instead. You can try Kaitlin white pepper baked chicken wings and you will see that this cooking process works well.
Bone-in skin pieces should be cooked in the oven as it contains skin and fatty acids that remain moist on the bone. Place chicken inside a nonstick foil/parchment-lined pan at 475 °F. Apply a little bit of vegetable oil over chicken skin. Oven-Bake at nearly 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
When frying chicken wings, cook for 30 minutes. Unless you have boneless pieces or drumettes or flats, bake for about 15 minutes.
Which Flour is Best for Korean Fried Chicken?
Korean fried chicken chickens usually are cooked from corn starch or rice starch or potato starch and can be a mixture of both.
The most popular cornstarch should be tried due to the blistering smear and crackled texture of cornstarch. But all-purpose flour and potato starch are close to each other, but that would indicate that it is a personal choice in selecting the flour.
Requirement of Utensils and Equipments for Cooking Korean Fried Chicken
- A heavy-duty deep pot for frying.
- A shallow bowl.
- Baking sheets.
- Drying rack.
- Paper towel.
- Thermometer for measuring temperature.
Ingredients for Cooking Korean Fried Chicken
For Fried Chicken
- 1 Kg chicken cut into pieces.
- 4-5 cups vegetable oil for deep frying.
- 1 tsp powdered black pepper.
- 1/2 tsp baking powder.
- 1 tsp sea salt.
- 1 tsp ginger grated finely.
- 3 cloves of minced garlic.
- 1/2 cup corn starch or potato starch.
- 1 tsp sesame seeds.
- For Korean fried chicken sauce.
- 2 tbsp Gochujang paste.
- 4 tbsp honey.
- 4 tbsp brown sugar.
- 2 tbsp soy sauce.
- 2 tbsp tomato sauce.
- 1 tsp sesame oil.
- 2 tsp grated garlic.
- 1 tsp grated ginger.
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar.
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds.
- 2 spring onions finely chopped.
- In a bowl, take grated ginger, baking powder, black pepper, and sea salt and mix them well. Marinate all the chicken pieces in this mixture for 30 minutes to1hour.
- Evenly coat marinated chicken pieces with corn starch or potato starch. Make sure each piece is covered with an even layer of starch and keep it aside. For effectively and evenly coating each piece, put chicken pieces one by one in a corn starch bowl.
- Preheat the oil in a deep pot to around 270 degrees. To make chicken crispy, make sure that oil is heated upto mentioned temperature using a thermometer. If the oil is not heated properly then it will result in a lot of oil absorption in chicken pieces and will not make them crispy enough. Deep-fry chicken pieces in batches (If the thermometer is not available for measuring oil temperature then simply heat oil on medium-high heat)
Useful tips for Frying Chicken
- Take enough oil in a pot and make sure that chicken pieces are fully dipped inside the oil.
- Make sure to maintain proper oil temperature while frying chicken so that proper crunchiness can be achieved. To measure oil temperature, use a thermometer.
- Keep removing burnt food particles present inside oil using the strainer to maintain the quality and taste of the oil.
- Now, put pieces carefully into heated oil and fry for 10 minutes until it becomes golden brown. Also, remember to turning chicken pieces in the meantime for frying all of them evenly. Don’t add numerous pieces at one timein the oil.
- Take out cooked chicken pieces from oil and place them onto the kitchen paper for soaking extra oil and for cooling down.
- Reheat the oil to 400 degrees for double frying chicken and add lightly fried chicken again in the heated oil and fry them until they become crispy and deep golden brown. Once done, remove deep-fried chicken pieces from the oil and place them into a large bowl.
- Take a saucepan and add sesame oil. Heat sesame oil and add grated ginger, garlic. Then, add tomato sauce, gochujang paste, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, tomato sauce, and rice vinegar while stirring it continuously.
- Cook it until bubbles start to appear and the mixture becomes thick.
- Pour in all the mixture over the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl and mix it until sauce evenly coats the chicken pieces or you can use the sauce separately as a dipping sweet and spicy sauce with Korean fried chicken pieces.
- Add some chopped spring onions and peanuts. Sprinkle sesame seeds over it and your crispy Korean fried chicken is ready to enjoy.
How to Serve Korean Fried Chicken?
Korean fried chicken is usually eaten with finger dishes for snacking. It is a great meal to have with rice and pickled vegetables. Korean Fried Chicken has a slightly spicy side and therefore is not a good choice for children or anyone who has a sensitivity towards hot foods.
If you want to eliminate all spicy factors from the dish, you can reduce the quantity of gochujang to half. This flavor might be less authentic, but it will remain delicious.
Complementary Dishes to Korean Fried Chicken
Korean food cuisine is not only just another type of cuisine out there. It is one of the most popular cuisines and the presence of too many Korean food chains in western countries and Asian countries prove it.
No matter where you are in the world, Korean fried chicken will bring that uniqueness to your taste.
In every Korean food chain restaurant, you will get plenty of side dishes options to choose from. These dishes are not appetizers but they are side dishes which are known as “Banchan”. These side dishes will give the perfect flavor and taste best along with Korean fried chicken.
1. Korean Fried Rice
Korean fried rice is an excellent option that goes well with Korean fried chicken. If you like Korean chicken a little hot and spicy, it’s the perfect option to serve with Korean chicken. With plenty of bacon, peas, and ginger, it’s much more exciting and interesting than regular steamed rice.
2. Algamja Jorim
It is made from stewed baby potatoes. Stew with rice syrup and soy sauce until the contents are fluffy and soft and the skin is crispy. Algamja Jorim is a perfect, healthy, and sweet alternative to french fries. Its sweetness also perfectly enhances the spicy taste of fried chicken.
3. Pickled Radishes
Pickled radish is one of the top complementary dishes served with Korean fried chicken recipes. You will find this side dish served with Korean fried chicken in many restaurants.
Kimchi is one of the best and most popular dishes served with Korean fried chicken. It is a bit pungent. spicy and consists of salted vegetables like radish and cabbage. The spicy taste of this dish is due to garlic, ginger, red pepper, fish sauce, and chili flakes.
5. Hot-Spicy Cucumber Salad
Cucumber salad tastes good with crispy, crunchy, and spicy Korean fried chicken. Cucumber salad in Korean is known as Oi muchim, where Oi is for cucumber, and muchim means mixed with seasonings. Soy sauce, garlic, chili, sesame oil, and little sugar together make this savory and spicy side dish.
6. Japchae (Stir-Fried Noddles)
Japchae is traditional vermicelli and is popularly found in Korean festivals. But of course, it works for your daily diet as well. Converted to mixed vegetables, it is best when achieving a balanced sweet and tasty flavor and texture of elastic pasta (it is most important to know that it is not too sticky).
It is suitable for serving Korean fried chicken because it brings various textures to the table while ensuring that vegetables provide the right amount of vitamins and minerals.
7. Egg Roll Omelete
Egg roll omelet is a dish that is savory and fluffy, similar to egg omelet but a little savory flavor and the addition of green onion makes it a perfect dish.
It is quick to make a recipe that can be made using very few ingredients. It is made by beating eggs and adding other ingredients like carrot and spring onions.
You can also add spinach filling to the rolls to make them nutritious. It is cooked in a frying pan in a thin layer and then rolled up to make a roll.
8. Korean Fried Zucchini
Korean fried zucchini is a flavorful side dish that is easy to prepare and goes well with Korean fried chicken. To make this recipe, zucchini is coated with egg and flour batter with salt, saute on a pan.
Making this delicious dish is just a matter of minutes. This side dish will certainly make Korean fried chicken more enjoyable. And, It is suitable for vegetarians also.
9. Korean Coleslaw
Korean coleslaw is a salad that tastes pretty much like kimchi. Though it is extra clean and is crunchier. Sweet, spicy, and tangy, this coleslaw recipe is a great complement to Korean fried chicken.
Apart from its distinctive taste, coleslaw is rich in nutrients and is a great source of Vitamin C, and additionally carries potassium and fiber.
10. Korean Corn Dogs
Korean corn dogs, which are also called ganja hot dogs are very famous in the Korean food chains and Korean night markets.
Korean hot dogs consist of rice cakes, hot dogs, sausages, and mozzarella sticks. Hot dogs are topped with crunchy toppings like instant ramen noodles after crushing, rice puffs, french fries, or cornflakes after covering with rice batter and then deep-fried until become crispy and golden brown.
Nutritional Value of Korean Fried Chicken
Korean fried chicken consists of 240 calories and a total of 14 grams of carbs, out of which net carbs are 12 grams. It also contains 20 grams of protein and 11 grams of fat.
Serving size – 1 Wingette
Amount Per Serving
|Value in %|
|Calories: 146 cal|
|Total Fat: 8.1g||12%|
|Saturated Fat: 1.4g||7%|
|Trans Fat: 0.1g|
|Sodium: 277mg|| |
|Total Carbohydrates: 13g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber: 0.5g||2%|
The End Note
Though there are lots of Korean food recipes out there, nothing comes closer to Korean fried chicken in terms of popularity. It is truly a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a meal, appetizer, or snack. So, make this recipe at home and enjoy your weekend by pairing this popular Korean dish with beer and various other dishes.