Wednesday, June 26, 2013

양념통닭 (Yangnyeom Tongdak)

Korean cuisine is one of my all-time favourite. Besides Japanese that is. I could totally eat Korean food every day and not get sick of it. Both cuisines have a wide variety of foods, yet tastewise, is totally on opposite ends of the spectrum. While Japanese food tends to be milder in taste, focusing alot of the freshness and simple cooking techniques, Korean food on the other hand hits you wham bam in the face with its strong flavours.

After returning to Singapore from my vacation in Seoul last month, I was craving for Korean food and I decided to fry up some Korean style fried chicken at home. There's this restaurant near my place that sells awesome (soy garlic) fried chicken, but the price for the dish is stealthily increasing... Thus, I decided to try my hand at making some fried chicken at home myself.

 양념통닭 (Yangnyeom Tongdak) 

First fry; Second fry - Note the difference in colour

The name of this dish 양념통닭 (Yangnyeom Tongdak) refers to seasoned (양념) fried chicken, aka Korean spicy fried chicken. I love Korean fried chicken for its crunchy chicken (even when coated in a sauce) and apparantly, the crunchiness is attributed to frying the chicken TWICE. Yeps, you read that right, double frying. Of course, only something that taste so good would be that sinful.  Tsk tsk.

계란말이 (Gyeran mari)

I was all prepped to start frying the chicken, when I realised I was missing an ingredient for the sauce. My rice syrup had expired (it expired in 2010 OMG) so I quickly drove out to the Korean mart near my place for a replacement. The grocery uncle was not very helpful as he kept insisting he didn't cook so he didn't understand what was "rice syrup" (there was only corn syrup on the shelves). So I just hastily grabbed something off the shelf and paid, before heading back home to check whether I had gotten the correct bottle. The bottle was labelled as 올리고당 (oligodang), and it is supposedly a healthier substitute compared to corn or rice syrup - according to this useful site I found > here.

By the time I got home, the chicken had already been sitting in the flour dredge for what seemed like ages, and it was all sticky and wet, with big blobs of batter pieces in the bowl. I was a bit apprehensive, and started swiping these batter blobs onto the chicken before frying them anyway. The results, as you can imagine, weren't pretty. The chicken was not coated in the batter properly and big blobs of batter crusts were floating about in the oil meh. Thinking quickly, I decided to add more flour to the bowl. Thank gosh it worked like a charm, so the rest of the frying went on without problems.

Tastewise? Oh. My .God. So finger lickin' good! Sweet, spicy, garlicky. The sauce was fantastically flavourful. The chicken was really crunchy too with the double frying method. It was oh so so so good. *swoon*. Now. To crack the recipe for a soy garlic version, and I'm all set to never buying store bought Korean fried chicken again. Erm, okay, well, maybe not never, cos deep frying can be a pain in the arse, and there's bound to be lazy it's perfectly valid to say that I'll keep store bought chicken as a back up alternative then! I can't wait to cook this dish again. It really is damn delicious. If you fancy fried chicken, why not give Korean fried chicken a try? (If you havn't already done so that is).

양념통닭 (Yangnyeom Tongdak) (adapted from Angie at Seasaltwithfood)
1.5 kg chicken (I used a mix of wings and drumlets) rinsed and pat dry with paper towels
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
½ cup potato starch powder
¼ cup plain flour
¼ cup rice flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
oil for deep-frying
In a large bowl, season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside for 10 to 20 minutes.
Then add potato starch powder, all-purpose flour, sweet rice flour, baking soda, and egg. Mix well to coat all chicken pieces evenly.
Preheat the oil to 180˚C in a wok or deep fryer. Deep-fry chicken wings in batches until light brown in color. (6 to 10 minutes, depend on the size of the chicken pieces)
Drain the chicken wings on a cooling rack.
After you have finished frying all the chicken pieces for the first fry, repeat frying process again for the second fry, for another 6 to 8 minutes or until it is crispy and golden brown in color.
Remove from oil and drain on cooling rack.

Sauce (*I've doubled the original recipe for the quantity below)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup ketchup
2/3 cup oligodang (or korean rice syrup)
½ cup gochujang
2 tbsp white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
toasted sesame seeds

Heat oil in a pan over low heat.
Add the minced garlic and fry until fragrant (be careful not to burn the garlic).
Add the ketchup, oligodang (or rice syrup), hot pepper paste, and vinegar to the pan.
Stir and simmer the sauce mixture for a few minutes. Remember to keep the heat low to prevent the sauce from burning.
When the chicken is done, reheat the sauce and pour over the chicken pieces, stirring well to coat the chicken pieces evenly with a wooden spoon.
Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

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