Today’s recipe is an extract from the fantastic new cookbook Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo. The traditional recipe for Yangnyum Chicken is the Korean version of good ol’ KFC so I thought it would be fun to share this recipe with you today while I’m away on my half-term holidays. What a fun ‘takeaway’ recipe to try out this weekend! Here’s Judy’s recipe:I have always loved fried chicken. But even though I grew up eating it in America, for me, ‘KFC’ stands for Korean fried chicken. There are many different versions, but what they all have in common is a very thin, hard crisp coating, which comes from using cornflour instead of flour, as well as double frying. My take on the dish, which includes vodka and matzo meal, is a little unorthodox and has a fair number of ingredients, but I call it ‘ultimate’ for a reason. Two things make it even better: its customary accompaniment of Cubed Pickled Radish and ice-cold beer.
Recipe serves 4
Coating: 30 g (1 oz) cornflour, 2½ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp baking powder, Freshly ground black pepper, 2 chicken drumsticks, 2 thighs and 4 wings (with tips), Vegetable oil, for frying
BBQ Sauce: 3 tbsp Korean chilli paste (gochujang), 3 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger, 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
Batter: 64 g (2¼ oz) cornflour, 20 g (¾ oz) fine matzo meal, 30 g (1 oz) plain flour, 2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes), 1 tbsp sea salt, 2½ tsp garlic powder, 2½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp baking powder, 90 ml (3 fl oz) vodka (or any neutral-tasting 40% alcohol), 2 tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
For the coating: In a large bowl, stir together the cornflour, salt, baking powder and a generous amount of pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack, shaking each piece to remove any excess coating. Leave, uncovered, at room temperature for about 1 hour.
For the BBQ sauce: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients and simmer for 3–5 minutes until slightly thickened. The sauce can be either served with the chicken or drizzled over it. If you prefer the latter, remove it from the heat on the early side so it’s a little thinner. Set aside; the sauce is best warm or at room temperature.
Shortly before cooking, in a large, wide, heavy-based pot at least 13 cm (5 in) deep, heat 5 cm (2 in) of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat until it reaches 180C/350F.
For the batter: While the oil is heating, in a large bowl, whisk together the cornflour, matzo meal, flour, chilli flakes, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the vodka, chilli paste and 240 ml (8 fl oz) water.
Right before you’re ready to fry the chicken, whisk the vodka mixture into the cornflour mixture. (Don’t do this in advance or the resulting batter may thicken too much as it sits. The consistency should be relatively thin and runny.)
Working in two batches, with the legs and thighs together as one batch and the wings as the other, dip each piece of chicken into the batter, letting any excess drip off. Suspend the chicken in the oil for a couple of seconds to set the crust before letting it slip completely into the oil; otherwise, it will stick to the base of the pot. Fry the chicken for 15–20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack or kitchen paper-lined plate to drain. Let the oil return to 180C/350F before cooking the second batch. Serve the chicken with the BBQ sauce either drizzled on top or on the side.
TIP: Boneless skinless thighs fried this way make an awesome sandwich. Serve the chicken on rolls slathered with the BBQ sauce and topped with iceberg lettuce and Spicy Pickled Radish Salad.
‘Recipe from Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo, photography by Jean Cazals. Published by Jacqui Small (£22). More information on the book can be found here.’