korean fried poulet & haricots
before you start thinking that your kitchen in that tiny studio apartment will explode into a smoky, greasy hell from attempting to make fried chicken, let me tell you that it's actually not that it most likely will not happen just as long as you don't fry using non-frying oil, your chicken somehow had lots of water in it, or you weren't paying attention to the heat of the oil. you'll be fine! i was rather surprised at how clean my apartment was from preparing and frying a few pounds of chicken. and it was sooooo worth it. if jonathan van ness were in my kitchen, he would have definitely said "yesss hennnyyy yes henneyy yeeaaass hennyyyy" because i was overtly celebrating this #winningmoment.
there's no topic i know better than korean fried chicken. okay and beyonce. but if someone were to host a korean fried chicken trivia night, i'd roll my sleeves up and put money down on myself. i can name the best places in major korean american cities, the different parts of the chicken that they serve, the sauces, the texture of the skin, omg the list goes on!
this is because these fried chicken joints are special snowflakes and no two are alike. there's variation in chicken size/cut/tenderness, sauce gooeyness, spiciness, crunchiness, thickness in coating, all the nesses that you would judge good fried chicken on.
...but asking me to pick my favorite is equivalent to asking me to pick favorites between my niece and nephew. it simply can't be done because i love them all for different reasons but equally.
for you who have not been to these fine fried chicken establishments like ob chicken (oakland), san tung (sunset, san francisco), turntable chicken jazz (nyc), pelicana (nyc), ob bear (los angeles), kyochon (los angeles) bonchon (worldwide), the list goes on, i wanted to capture the essence of what korean fried chicken is: a thin super crispy outer layer doused in a sweet sticky soy garlic sauce.
i'd say that this recipe will get you closest to san tung fried chicken (although their dried fried wings aren't korean, i'm convinced that they've modeled their recipe to be v v close to korean fried chicken). san tung also does these amazing dried fried haricots (or heyricots ;) ) that you'll regret not ordering so i made them here as well for you to try. pardon my french, but i have to get into the habit of calling things in french because guess what! i'm moving to paris in a few weeks! BAH! it's probably no surprise to you because you're probably one of the 5 friends / family who come to dearsaturdays and probably know this detail of my life already :')
anyways, i promise that this recipe is really really easy and please don't be intimidated like i was. my friend, aaron, who has pretty close to 0 experience in cooking joined me in this fried chicken journey and he verbatim said "i never knew that making fried chicken was so easy". i didn't either! hope you give it a try and also wash it all down with some chilled beer. btw, koreans call this ritual "chimaek" chicken-maekju (beer). it really is a divine pairing. ENJOY 4 ME PLZ!
korean fried chicken & haricots
2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
3/4 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 pound haricots (string beans in english)
6 cups frying oil (peanut, canola, vegetable)
2 stalks scallions chopped
1 paprika chili pepper, seeds removed and chopped
4-5 thai chili peppers, seeds removed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing
10 tablespoon soy sauce
8 tablespoon three crabs fish sauce
4 tablespoon cane sugar syrup
3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoon cane sugar
3 tablespoon water
pat chicken wings dry with paper towel, toss in salt and pepper, let chicken season for 15 minutes
in a large bowl, add in starch, evenly coat chicken in starch, remove excess, and place in a separate bowl
bring oil up to high heat in a deep pot, i used a dutch oven (375-400F degrees)
when oil is ready, you can test by dunking 1 side of chicken in oil and see if bubbles are actively boiling. if not active, let it heat up for 4-5 more minutes
place 5-6 wings at a time and fry for 10-15 minutes. chicken can stick to the pot or cook faster on the bottom sides so keep and eye and toss around! do not crowd pot with chicken or else the chicken won't be as crisp!
once chicken has fried to a nice golden brown, remove from pot and place on a cooling rack. repeat until all the chicken has fried
keep pot still heated and flash fry the washed, trimmed, and dry haricots for 30 seconds. they should float to the top, remove from oil and set on cooling rack
bring medium size pot to medium-high heat, using 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté garlic and peppers for 2-3 minutes
add in soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, syrup, and sugar
stir and dissolve sugar. bring up to a boil until sugar bubbles up
reduce heat, taste and if flavor is too concentrated or sauce becomes too thick, thin out using a few tablespoons of water
dress dat poulet and those haricots
place fried chicken and toss in sauce pot until evenly coated, remove and place on serving platter, top with extra scallion or sesame seeds (optional)
take haricots and toss in sauce, place on serving platter and top with toasted crushed peanuts sprinkled with cumin (optional too)