This is great recipe from the now-defunct Vancouver-based community cooking blog Chowtimes. This one takes some effort, but it’s well worth the time. The result is a sticky, gooey, crunchy, delicious mess of fried chicken.
Like many other Korean fried chicken recipes, this one calls for double-frying the chicken, to very good effect. The second frying makes the chicken wonderfully crunchy, even under the sweet and sour sauce with which it’s eventually covered.
Note that you’re going to make the sweet and sour sauce from scratch. It’s not like that orange atrocity of a sauce at the local Asian buffet (which is good in its own orange and unhealthy way).
What you’ll need
Chicken & marinade:
- 1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
- 1.5t minced or grated ginger
- 3t soy sauce
- 0.75t ground black pepper
- 1 whole egg plus 1 egg white
- 3T potato or corn starch
Spicy garlic and leek-infused oil:
- 0.5 cups neutral oil (canola, corn or vegetable)
- 1.5 cups thinly shredded leek (1 whole leek)
- 12 garlic cloves, each cut in half
- 2T red chili flakes
Vegetables and seasonings:
- 6-8 green onions, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 10 dried chili peppers
Sweet and sour sauce (mix well in a large measuring cup or small bowl):
- 3T soy sauce
- 6T water
- 4-6T syrup (or sugar)
- 3T white vinegar
- 3t potato or corn starch
- Few drops of sesame oil
- 1 cup neutral oil (canola, corn or vegetable)
What to do
Mix the ginger, soy sauce and black pepper in a medium bowl and marinate the chicken in it for about 20 minutes. Now add the egg and starch, mixing it in with the chicken pieces until each is coated evenly. The result of this will be chicken pieces covered in the marinade and starch—it will look slightly dry in places because of the starch. If there’s liquid visible in the bottom of the bowl, stir in a little more starch.
For the spicy garlic-and-leek-infused oil, heat up a frypan with 0.5 cups neutral oil over high heat. When the oil is heated, lower the heat to medium and add the garlic and leek. Stir them in with wooden cooking chopsticks until the garlic and leek become light golden brown and crispy.
Remove the garlic and leek with chopsticks, tongs or a slotted spoon and set them aside on a paper-towel-lined plate.
Turn off the heat and add the chili pepper flakes to the hot oil. Stir in the flakes for a few minutes, allowing the oil to cool a bit, then strain the oil (keeping for later use) and discarding any solids you strain out. Your spicy garlic-and-leek-infused oil is now ready. Set it aside for now.
Now it’s time to fry the chicken. Heat 1 cup neutral oil/few drops of sesame oil in a frypan over high heat until it’s about 350 degrees. Fry the chicken in batches, turning each piece every so often. After the pieces turn crunchy and a light golden brown, remove them to a paper-towel-lined plate. Leave the oil in the pan for the second frying.
Heat up another frying pan and add the spicy garlic-and-leek-infused oil you made earlier. When the oil is heated, add the onion, green onion and dried chili peppers. Stir over medium high heat until the onion starts turning crispy. Add the sweet and sour sauce and stir it for about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
Now it’s time for the second frying. Reheat the frying oil to about 350 degrees and fry the chicken—as before—for about 4 minutes, turning each pieces a couple of times to ensure even cooking. Remove the cooked pieces to a paper-towel-lined plate.
As your last step, reheat the sweet and sour sauce until it’s sizzling. Add the chicken and a few drops of sesame oil. Turn the chicken pieces to coat them in the sauce.
To serve, put the chicken on a platter and top with the fried leek and garlic.