My Guilty Pleasure: Gizzi Erskine’s ‘KFC’ (Korean fried chicken)
‘I do my best not to eat it from fast food takeaway joints but sometimes I crave it pretty badly’
“My weakness is fried chicken. I’m especially keen for it when I’m hungover. I do my best not to eat it from fast food takeaway joints but sometimes I crave it pretty badly. But my way around it is to make my own version - I mainly cook this for myself at home and it’s a favourite with my friends too. I discovered Korean fried chicken in New York 10 years ago, which added to my addiction. I love it so much I’ve included a number of recipes for it in my cookbooks to share the fried chicken love. In Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite I have a killer recipe for Korean fried chicken which I’m sharing with you below.”
Gizzi Erskine is a chef and food writer. Her latest cookbook, Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite published by Mitchell Beazley, £25, is out now (octopusbooks.co.uk). Her upcoming supper club The Glam Clam will run in London from December 16th - 20th. Tickets are available here.
Korean Fried Chicken
This is a recipe that I have made 1,000 times and developed over the past six years, having first tried them in K-town in New York at the advice of my friend, chef Judy Joo. It’s now (I guess) my “signature dish” and it makes an appearance at pretty much every event, take-over or pop-up that I do. I am writing this recipe while in Seoul and for the first time I feel that I can finally put it to bed after having eaten mountains of Korean fried chicken from its motherland and knowing for sure that I now have it right. My recipe is a fusion of American meets Asian, brining the wings first to tenderise, season and firm up the wings then tossing them in three flours. You might think this step is a bit extreme but each flour does its own thing: the self raising (wheat) flour is for puff, the potato flour is for chew and the rice flour gives it crunch. Don’t mess about with this step.
The wings are then fried over a low heat until cooked, dried and then flash-fried on high, making them crisp and drawing out the juices to form an umami crust. Finally, they are tossed in an addictive Korean chilli sauce to coat the wings, then in sesame seeds and garnished with very finely sliced spring onions. Serve them the Korean way, piled into mountains alongside a stack of imported beer while watching football or K-pop with pals.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon salt
8 free-range or organic chicken wings, wing tips cut off, then each wing cut in half through the joint to make 16 pieces
Oil, for deep-frying
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (white, black or a mixture of both)
2 spring onions, (green parts only), very thinly sliced into rings, to garnish
For the flour mix
6 tablespoons self-raising flour
3 tablespoons rice flour
3 tablespoons potato flour
sea salt flakes and white pepper
For the sauce
2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
2 tablespoons Sriracha chilli sauce
4 tablespoons caster sugar
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chicken fat or butter
Mix the buttermilk and salt together in a bowl. Add the chicken wings and massage the brine into the wings, then leave in the fridge for 12-24 hours. This will draw out all the excess water from the wings, leaving the concentrated chicken juices.
To make the sauce, melt together the gochujang, chilli sauce, sugar, vinegar, ketchup, sesame oil and chicken fat or butter in a saucepan. Bring to the boil for a minute, then remove from the heat and set aside. Mix all the flours together in a bowl and season well. Take the wings out of the buttermilk brine, wiping off any excess with kitchen paper. Toss the wings, four pieces at a time, in the flours. Remove and set aside. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer (or a deep saucepan or wok filled with oil a third of the way up its sides) to 140°C. Add the wings and fry gently (or confit) for 8-10 minutes, or until they are cooked through but have barely taken on any colour. Remove the wings and drain on kitchen paper. Increase the temperature of the oil to 190°C and fry the wings for a further 2-3 minutes, or until they are golden and cooked through.
Toss the wings in the sauce and 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds. Sprinkle over the remaining sesame seeds and the spring onions and serve immediately. These are best eaten with your fingers and served with an ice-cold beer.
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