Some people in our household, me included, are fried chicken fiends. Give us a bucket of fried chicken and we're all happy campers.
We don't fry chicken that often in our house and it seems that the choices for good fried chicken in this town are becoming more and more limited. Of course, this fact that fried chicken are rare birds that alight our tables probably explains the gusto with which we dig into them.
Recently, our favourite has been Thai Fried Chicken. The scent of the oyster sauce, fish sauce, garlic and cilantro while the chicken pieces are frying is enough to bring a horde to the kitchen fingers itching to grab the next piece.
When I brought home some drumsticks the other day, though, I toyed with the idea of being unfaithful to our current love. Maybe it was time to bring another fried chicken dish into our lives. . .
It is spring, after all, and in the spring this young woman's fancy (okay, not so young!) lightly turns to thoughts of love.
I've been hearing and reading so much about Korean fried chicken for the past couple of years, that maybe, maybe, maybe it is time to fall in love with Korean fried chicken.
When we went to New Year last summer, I had written down a list of Korean fried chicken places to try. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time (4 days) and stomach space (see our previous posts) to partake of the other "KFC".
When we went to LA last fall -- well, you already know what happened on that trip: we had to shorten our entire trip because of the eye injury, hence the disappointment.
But, just to show you how dedicated we are, we did manage to snag a sample of Korean fried chicken at Kyochon on that Thursday night, the night before the day we had to fly back to Vancouver.
I don't recall myself going ga-ga over the Kyochon fried chicken. Perhaps it was the circumstances of the meal, perhaps it was an off-day for them, but I thought, while the coating was spicy and flavourful enough, the chicken itself had no taste at all.
I don't know if TS concurs with my opinion or if she even saw the fried chicken that she ate that night!
Because of the non-flavourful chicken, I decided to marinate my chicken overnight before the actual cooking. I combined some soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, cider vinegar, brown sugar and grated apple (didn't have pears). Into this marinade went the chicken drumsticks.
We coated the chicken with cornstarch before frying. Afterwards, I tossed them in that startlingly red Yangnyeom Sauce, the sauce that seems to define Korean fried chicken in North America. It's made with gochujang, corn syrup, garlic, sesame oil, and a touch of soy sauce and vinegar.
Am I in love?
No, not really. As with Kyochon, I'm not ga-ga over this version of Korean fried chicken. All I seem to taste in this fried chicken is the sweet-ish heaviness of the gochujang paste. While good, especially when paired with the crispy, crunchy skin, I found I needed more dimensions to keep my palate interested.
Please note that the above is a personal opinion. Please do not write or flame me about my personal opinion. On Korean fried chicken -- at least, Kyochon and this version -- we just have to agree to disagree.
I made the Yangnyeom sauce using the recipe from the fantastic Korean Fried Chicken post at ZenKimchi. The post concentrates on the different seasoning and coatings for the fried chicken, so perhaps it is those two aspects of Korean fried chicken that we should concentrate on.
The Yangnyeom sauce should be a supporting player instead of the star.
Speaking of which, I liked the Yangnyeom-glazed fried chicken more than JS. I do love my gochujang, after all. Add some sweetness, some garlic (which you know I love), some sesame oil, and I'm a happy camper.
As I said, please do not flame me about my current indifference to Korean fried chicken. My two dalliances with it have not touched my heart. However, I am very open to the possibility. Maybe I just need to keep trying more versions of Korean fried chicken or keep tweaking with this recipe to find The One. ;)
We're pencilling Korean Fried Chicken again for another run. Stay tuned.
In the meeantime, this is what else we used Yangnyeom sauce for.
Get the recipes from ZenKimchi: Korean Food Journal
The Great Korean Fried Chicken Recipe (Experiment)
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