For a fun and special treat, that also happens to be gluten-free for my dear sister, and that also happens to fall perfectly into the Korean Food subcategory of my 2012 Food Trends for the Home Cook series…
Korean Fried Chicken!
Korean fried chicken is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Southern fried chicken. Rather than a thick, crunchy, craggy crust, the hallmark of Korean fried chicken is an ultra-thin, almost transparent, crackling crisp exterior. It’s often sprinkled with a spicy seasoning blend after being deep fried, but I’m going to coat it with a sweet-spicy glaze, to give it a Buffalo-style vibe.
I’ve developed this recipe in honor of my sister’s admirable goal of a gluten-free diet. It can be eaten alone, as a snack, or teamed up with some choice sides for a special dinner. We enjoyed ours with:
Food Should Taste Good Lime Juice and Sea Salt Tortilla Chips
Bobbi’s Black Bean Hummus
and some fresh steamed Edamame
All GF! The lime and garlicky-black bean played so nicely against the sweet soy and ginger glaze! And the edamame helped round things out with some light, fresh flavor…
1 package chicken drumsticks
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cornstarch
vegetable oil, enough to come halfway up the sides of a large pot
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (make sure it’s GF!)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 clove fresh garlic, grated or finely minced
gojuchan (Korean hot pepper paste) to taste
First, put the oil on to heat. The goal is to keep the oil at a temperature of around 350 degrees, so I’m clipping on a thermometer so I can keep an eye on it while I prep the other ingredients.
Salt and pepper the chicken.
Put it in a zip-top bag and add in the cornstarch. Zip the baggie and give it all a shake-around.
Knock off as much of the excess cornstarch as possible and then lay them out on a wire rack while you get the glaze together.
The glaze is super simple! Just put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. I left out the gojuchang until after I had dipped my kids’ drumsticks, so theirs were just sweet-savory and not spicy at all.
Once the oil comes up to temperature, carefully slip in the chicken. Keep an eye on the thermometer; if you put a lot of cold chicken in at once, that temperature is going to drop. So you just want to be aware and adjust the flame accordingly.
Fry the drummies for about 15 minutes, drain on a wire rack, and then drown them in that sweet-savory-spicy glaze…
My kiddies loved these! Something about finger food, and this with a built-in handle! And I’m sure that sweet and crunchy didn’t hurt a bit…
While I certainly wouldn’t advocate eating deep fried food every night, I think it can be okay for a once-in-a-while treat. And there are some steps you can take to keep your fried chicken on the lighter, non-greasy side. One: white meat has less fat, so try using chicken tenders instead of legs. But if you do, you probably will want to cut the cooking time down by five minutes or so. White meat cooks faster, and therefore, dries out faster. Two: keep an eye on that oil temp. If you fry at too low a temperature, the food will absorb the oil and become sodden with grease. Make sure your oil is in the 325-375 degree range, and it will crisp up and seal out the oil the minute it makes contact. Also, don’t leave out the step of draining it on a wire rack. You can leave it to drain for as long as 20 minutes; don’t worry, it stays plenty hot! Especially if it’s on the bone.
Click here for a printable 4×6 recipe card: The Other KFC Recipe Card