With its shatteringly crispy exterior and smoky, spicy sauce, once you try Korean-style fried chicken you might never want any other kind again. 

By Margaret Eby
July 02, 2019
Photo: Aaron Kirk; Prop Styling: Christina Daley; Food Styling: Julia Levy

Fried chicken is one of those subjects that tends to be very divisive. Your opinion on the best fried chicken might be backed up by science, by childhood nostalgia, or by extensively eating verious kinds. But if you haven't tried Korean fried chicken, you're missing out on a whole subgenre of the dish that deserves your attention. There are different ways of going about it, of course, but generally speaking you can expect a crispy, crunchy exterior, a juicy interior, and a sauce that's a spicy, tangy, and a little bit smokey.

The secret to making really good Korean fried chicken is all in the frying best practices. Rather than using flour to coat the chicken, Korean fried chicken uses potato starch to bread the exterior of the chicken, and omits the egg wash layer that's often present in fried chicken. The chicken is also tossed in ginger and salt before being coated in starch, ensuring that the pieces are seasoned well. As with breading with flour, the easiest way to ccoat chicken in potato starch is to spread out a cup of the stuff in a shallow dish like a half sheet pan. That way, you can easily coat multiple pieces of chicken in starch at the same time. Remember to knock off any excess starch, and if there's a patch on the chicken that looks bare, feel free to press in or rub in some starch on that area.

In this method of making Korean fried chicken, each piece of chicken actually gets fried twice. That ensures that the chicken is cooked through and achieves that crispy exterior without drying the chicken out. For ease of frying, you want to set up a station where the fried chicken can rest and have excess oil drip off between frying sessions. The best way to do that is to set a wire rack over a baking sheet with a layer of paper towels underneath. if you don't have a wire rack, then a plate lined with paper towels will also work. 

To fry the chicken, heat a neutral oil like canola or grapeseed oil in a large cast iron skillet until it registers 375 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer. Remember to watch the oil temperature—too hot and it'll catch fire, which is never a fun kitchen adventure. Fry the chicken in batches, two minutes on each side, and then remove the pieces to the wire rack or paper towel plate. Once you're done fying the chickent he first time, pop it back into the fryer for another round. After that's done, immediately toss the warm chicken in the sauce to coat. Pile on a big platter and eat. Don't be shy. It's good fried chicken. 

Get the recipe for Korean Fried Chicken

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