I absolutely love fried chicken, so much I crave it. I love the combination of crispy, crunchy, salty skin and the tender juicy meat. Sadly, I have never been able to fry whole chicken pieces (ie. thighs, breast) with much success. I have always ended up burning the chicken because it’s not done or it’s golden brown, but not cooked through. I can never get it to come out right.
At some point I resorted to only using wings when I have a craving for fried chicken. They are so much easier to fry. It’s really hard to screw up chicken wings because they usually only take 5 minutes to fry and they are done. Also, it’s hard to burn something when only frying it for 5 minutes, unless your oil is ridiculously hot.
Korean fried chicken is different than traditionally southern fried chicken because the coating is crispy and airy. The secret is in the cornstarch coating and addition of baking powder. In this recipe there is also gochugaru, onion powder, and garlic powder for additional savory flavor. Gochugaru is a Korean chile pepper powder (or flakes). If you don’t have it or can’t find it, you can use a few pinches of cayenne powder.
The chicken is pre-coated in cornstarch and then needs to sit uncovered for a little while. This helps the chicken dry out a bit and the batter stick. Yes, weirdly enough there is a batter used here. I promise you this will still result in deliciously crispy crunchy chicken. In the batter, there is fine matzo meal. This adds crunch to the chicken. If you can’t find matzo meal just buy unsalted matzo crackers and throw them in the food processor. I wouldn’t use saltines because of salt and they are not as dry as matzo.
This has become my go to recipe for fried chicken and I use wings because it makes my life so much easier. This chicken has so much flavor, that I have not made traditional fried chicken since I found this recipe. I am sure it will change your life like it has mine.
Korean Fried Chicken Wings
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
10 grinds of black pepper
12 chicken wings
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup fine matzo meal
2 tbsp gochugaru chile powder (alternatively a few pinches of cayenne powder)
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
1/3 cup vodka
Oil, for frying (we use peanut oil)
Pre-coating: Whisk all the ingredients (except for the chicken) in a large bowl, add in the chicken and toss well to coat. Make sure each wing is coated evenly, use your hands if necessary. Shake off the excess cornstarch and place on a rack. Let rest uncovered for one hour.
In a large dutch oven, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°.
Batter: In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (water and vodka). Right before frying, whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The batter should be fairly thin and runny.
Frying: Working in batches, dip each piece wing into the batter. Let the excess batter run off the wing. Suspend the wing into the hot oil, holding for a few seconds before letting it go. This keeps the wing from falling to the bottom and sticking. Fry the chicken for approximately 7-9 minutes. I did not fry more than 4 wings at a time, you do not want to crowd the pot. Transfer to a rack to drain.