It's hard to argue with Judy Joo when she describes her recipe for Korean fried chicken as "the better KFC."
As the host of Cooking Channel's series "Korean Food Made Simple," which debuts on April 19, Judy is basically an expert on frying up a batch of this crackly Korean dish. Made with a vodka-laced batter and plenty of spices, Judy's fried chicken cooks up with the super-thin, extra-crispy skin characteristic of this crunchy Korean treat. Then, to top things off, she likes to serve her dish with homemade spicy BBQ sauce and a helping of pickled daikon radish, too.
Interested in trying some "KFC" for yourself? Get your hands on some Korean spices and roll up your sleeves, then take a crack at the crispy recipe below.
And for more of Joo's can't-miss Korean cuisine, be sure to tune in for "Korean Food Made Simple," premiering April 19th on Cooking Channel!
Judy Joo's Ultimate Korean Fried Chicken With Spicy BBQ Sauce
- 2 chicken drumsticks, 2 thighs and 4 wings (with tips) (bone in, skin on)
- [For the Pre-Coating]
- ¼ cup cornstarch or corn flour
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 10 grinds black pepper
- [For the Batter]
- ½ cup cornstarch or corn flour
- ¼ cup fine matzo meal
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons garlic granules
- 2 ½ teaspoons onion granules
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup vodka
- 2 tablespoons Korean chili paste (gochujang)
- [For the Barbecue Sauce]
- 3 tablespoons Korean chili paste (gochujang)
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 packed tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger, about a 2-inch piece
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- [For the Pickled Daikon]
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup superfine sugar or caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 1 pound daikon radish, cut into ½-inch cubes
- Set the chicken aside. (If making the pickled daikon, skip to step 8.) Make the pre-coating by whisking together the next four ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss well until evenly coated in all areas.
- Transfer chicken to a rack, shaking the chicken well to get rid of any excess coating. Let rest uncovered for one hour.
- Pour enough oil into a six-quart Dutch oven to reach a depth of two inches. Heat oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350 degrees.
- While the oil reaches temperature, begin preparing the batter. First whisk together the dry ingredients (corn starch, matzo meal, chili flakes, salt, garlic, onion and baking powder) in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (water, vodka and chili paste). Just before frying, whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture. The consistency should be relatively thin and runny.
- Working in two batches, dip each piece of chicken into the batter, letting excess batter drip off. Suspend the chicken in the oil for a couple of seconds (allowing it to set) before letting it slip completely into the oil, otherwise the chicken will fall and stick to the bottom of the pot. Fry chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes per batch. Transfer to a wire rack to drain as done.
- For the barbecue sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, three to five minutes.
- Serve the chicken with the BBQ sauce, pickled radish (recipe follows below) and beer.
- If desired, prepare the picked daikon radishes ahead of time. Combine the rice vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, whisking until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the radish and toss to coat. Leave at room temperature, covered, for 24 hours. Then refrigerate. Serve cold with fried chicken.