Korean Fried Chicken

Before coming to New York, I have never had Korean fried chicken. My coworkers introduced me to Boka and after eating their combo wings and drumsticks 2-3 times every week, we migrated to Monomono and then it just stopped because we got sick of it.

When I came back from Hong Kong last month, the following day at Whole Foods, they had a chicken drumstick sale, 30-something drumsticks for $6!! So I bought two packs and finished one pack two weekends ago during my dinner party. I still have one more pack and although I love my signature fried chicken, I don’t want to make it again so soon. However, I have been craving Korean fried chicken and I’ve always wanted to know HOW they made their chicken so crispy!

… The secret is that they fry it TWICE. DUH! I could have figured that out! You fry French fries twice! Why wouldn’t you do that for chicken?!?!? So I spent yesterday reducing my would-have-been marinating liquid into a glaze-ish-sauce and brining the chicken. I found that the Korean fried chicken in the restaurants were bland under the crispy crust.

I wasn’t sure if this was going to work because it can’t be THAT easy? And you know what, it was THAT easy!!!!

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[100% organic]

For the Brine

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup salt

Bring the solution up to a boil and cool to room temperature.

For the Chicken

  • 20-30 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 TBS cornstarch
  • Fryer oil

Brine the chicken for at least 2 hours, no more than 4 hours in the refrigerator. Drain chicken and place on paper towels.

Whisk flour, water, and cornstarch together and make a slurry. Add a little more water if mixture is paste-like. Coat chicken in slurry and fry in oil 350°F for 8 minutes. Remove from fryer and wait for oil to reach 350°F again. Fry for the second time for another 8 minutes. Drain on a wire rack or on paper towels.

Brush glaze/sauce on chicken or season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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Soondubu Jjigae

This is my third attempt at making soondubu jjigae and I am satisfied with it. The first two times, I made the spicy level to “suicidal nuclear explosion” which made it almost impossible to eat. This time I made it mild and I finally used the dried kelp I brought over from Hong Kong. I can’t seem to find it at the Chinese supermarkets in Austin/I don’t buy “Made in China” products or food unless I know it’s safe, like frozen 馒头 or 包子.

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[100% organic, wild mussels, & environmentally responsible aquaculture farmed shrimp]

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water
  • 12 dried anchovies
  • One 5 inch x 7 inch sheet of dried kelp
  • Half an onion, chopped loosely
  • 6 cloves of garlic, whole
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water
  • ½ lb fruits de mare
  • 5 large shrimp
  • ½ lb mussels
  • 2 green onions, chopped into fourths
  • 8 Thai peppers, chopped
  • 2 TBS red chili flakes
  • 1 TBS fresh chili paste
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • 1 package of soft tofu
  • 2 TBS oyster sauce
  • 2 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Prepare stock: pour 5 cups of water into a pot and add 12 dried anchovies
  2. Add the onion, dried kelp, mushrooms, and garlic over high heat
  3. Once it boils, lower the heat to low-medium and boil for another 20 minutes
  4. Set aside the stock and take out the mushrooms, then chop them into small pieces
  5. Heat your clay plot on the stove and put 2 TBS of olive oil
  6. Add the fruits de mare and shrimp, and stir
  7. Add the chopped shiitake mushroom and stir
  8. Add the red chili flakes and chili paste, continue stirring
  9. Pour 2-3 cups of the stock you made
  10. Add the mussels and then the oyster sauce
  11. Add the tofu to the pot and break it apart with a spoon
  12. When it boils, add the green onions and Thai peppers
  13. Add the eggs on top of the mixture for about 30 seconds
  14. Drizzle some sesame oil before serving

*Adapted from Cooking Korean Food with Maangchi.

Hawaiian-Style Kalbi Ribs

I LOVE eating baby back ribs. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. I usually make them Chinese-style in two ways; one with dark + light soy sauce, and the other with Chinese vinegar (black) + brown sugar.

This is a sweeter adaptation of the Korean-style ribs. This way of cooking keeps the ribs moist so it’s not going to have that dried out taste when you devour it.

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[100% organic]

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • 2 TBS crushed red chili flakes
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2-inches ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 lbs pork baby back ribs

Instructions

Mix together the sugar, soy sauce, a few dashes of sesame oil, chili flakes, garlic, ginger, and green onions in a bowl. Add the ribs and toss to coat. Let it marinade for at least an hour at room temperature, or refrigerate for a few hours, turning occasionally to coat evenly.

Heat oven to 450°F. Remove ribs from marinade and arrange, curved side up, on a rack set; roast for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the marinade in a saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy; about 20 minutes.

Flip ribs and cook, basting frequently with the reduced marinade, until the ribs are browned, glazed, and tender, for another 15–20 minutes.

*Adapted from Saveur.