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Korean Fried Chicken

ingredients

Created by Chef Dennis Lee of Namu Gaji in San Francisco, CA

  • 3 quarts water
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • Whole chicken, split into 8 pieces (2 of each: wing with breast, breast, thigh and drumstick)
  • 1 cup plus 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 5 cups cold sparkling water
  • 5 quarts frying oil (rice bran, canola or peanut oil) or pork lard

Special equipment:
Candy thermometer

KFC Glaze

  • 1/2 cup gochujang hot-pepper paste
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 oz. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. potato starch mixed with 2 tbsp. water

Daikon Pickles

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2–3 lb. medium-size Japanese daikon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Spicy Slaw

  • 1/2 green cabbage
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp. Sriracha, Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce (more if you like it hotter)

Dashi Gravy

  • 1 cup heaping bonito flakes
  • 1 piece kelp, 4 x 4 in.
  • 4 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 6 oz. unsalted butter
  • Black pepper to taste (approx. 1 tsp.)
  • 6 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated 

    directions

Combine water, salt and soy sauce in large pot. Place chicken in brine and refrigerate, allowing to soak for 3 to 4 hours. Remove from solution and pat dry. Lightly coat chicken in 1 cup of flour. In separate large bowl, whisk remaining 2 cups of flour, potato starch, sea salt and black pepper together. Add sparkling water and mix until smooth. Coat chicken in batter. Heat frying oil to 320 degrees in 8- to 10-quart heavy-bottomed pot. Submerge chicken in oil for 8 minutes, maintaining temperature between 300 and 320 degrees. Remove chicken and allow to rest on a drying rack for 6 minutes. Submerge chicken again and maintain temperature between 350 and 375 degrees. Batter will appear golden brown and very crispy when done. Note: The temperature of the oil will drop when you place all the chicken in. Increase or decrease heat to maintain proper temperature.

KFC Glaze

Combine all ingredients except potato-starch slurry in small 4-quart pot. Bring to a simmer and add potato-starch slurry, whisking vigorously. Turn heat down to very low to keep warm. Take mixture off the heat, and whisk for a minute just before glazing chicken.

Daikon Pickles

In large bowl, combine water, sugar, salt and vinegar. Whisk until uniform. Add radish and let sit, covered, for 24 hours. Then refrigerate until ready to eat. These will easily keep for 6 to 8 weeks in refrigerator.

Spicy Slaw

Thinly slice cabbage. Mix together with mayo and hot sauce until evenly coated. Note: This slaw is best served right away, but it’s also good the next day after being refrigerated.

Dashi Gravy

Place bonito and kelp in chicken stock in medium (6-quart) pot. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Strain liquid, discarding solids, and return to pot. Add fish sauce, soy sauce and mirin to stock. In a separate 10-inch sauté pan, melt butter on low. Work flour in until there are no lumps and flour is fully incorporated (the mix will become a relatively solid mass). Heat stock to a simmer, and add butter-and-flour combination in small pieces, whisking them in. Add cheese and black pepper. Whisk for 4 minutes as mixture bubbles and thickens. Serve hot.

To serve, coat fried chicken in warm KFC glaze and plate chicken alongside daikon pickles and spicy slaw, with side of dashi gravy for dipping. Pair with cold glass of milk and enjoy.