I first made this recipe last November, and made it again last night because I had a few guests coming over for dinner (plus I already had 7-pounds of chicken). This is one of my highest-rated, bone-in chicken recipe, and again everybody still gave the recipe 5-stars. Unfortunately, I didn’t heed my own warning about a lack of sauce, so I ran short again. Next time, I swear I’ll remember!
It has rich, Korean flavors, and while the recipe isn’t too much effort (never more than one task going on at a time), it does make a big mess. Be sure to wash the dishes as you go, otherwise face a disaster in the kitchen after dinner.
- Everybody wanted more sauce. My recipe below increases the sauce by 50% from Chris Kimball’s original recipe. In today’s case, I also increase the chicken so the sauce still ran short. If you are frying 3-1/2 pounds of chicken, then the recipe as given below will be perfect.
- Chris Kimball says to maintain an oil temperature of 350 while frying, but this is impossible. The oil temperature went down to 305-degrees, but still I had no trouble reaching the desired temperature in the right amount if time.
- In the final step, the sauce should be poured over chicken, because it was thick enough not to stir well. The first time I made this I poured the sauce in the bowl before adding the chicken, which didn’t work nearly as well.
Rating: 5 stars.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess? High.
Start time 4:30 PM. Dinner time 5:30 PM.
3 quarts vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups cornstarch
3-1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup water
Optional: a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
4 to 5 medium garlic cloves, pressed (about 1-1/2 tablespoon)
1-1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoon Thai chili-garlic sauce (e.g. Sriracha)
- First, make sauce by simmering all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes. The sauce will become thicker and more syrupy as it cools.
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Add 2-inches of vegetable oil to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat to 350-degrees.
- If using chicken breasts, cut them into two equals halves. If using both light and dark meat, divide your batches accordingly so that the dark meat can fry for a few extra minutes.
- Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil then set wire racks inside; set aside.
- Dry the chicken with paper towels, then lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Add 1/2 cup of cornstarch into a wide, shallow dish (for example a Pyrex baking dish). Working with two or three pieces of chicken at a time, coat the chicken with cornstarch, then put in a large mesh strainer and shake over sink until just a thin coating of cornstarch remains. Set the chicken on one of the wire racks. (the other rack will be used later).
- In a large bowl, add 1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup of water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk together until forms a smooth batter.
- When the oil is just under 350-degrees, add half of the chicken to the batter, turning to coat the chicken well. Use tongs to remove the chicken, one piece at a time, allowing the excess batter to drip off, then adding to the 350-degree oil.
- Fry the chicken, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for 6 minutes. The chicken will not be fully cooked, but remove it and place on the second prepared wire rack. Let it rest while you fry the second batch.
- While the oil temperature returns to 350-degrees, batter the remaining chicken, and fry the second batch for 6 minutes (i.e. repeat steps 8 and 9).
- While the oil temperature returns to 350-degrees, remove the foil from the first baking sheet and line with several layers of paper towels (or use a clean third balking sheet).
- Return the first batch of chicken to the oil and fry for another 6 minutes, until the exterior is crispy and is deeply golden brown. An instant-read thermometer should registers at least 160 degrees for breasts, or 175 degrees for thigh or drumsticks.
- Remove the chicken and place on paper towel–lined baking sheet, then keep warm in the pre-heated 200 degree oven.
- Repeat with second fry with the second batch of chicken. Meanwhile slice the scallions thinly on a 45-degree bias.
- Let the second batch drain on the paper towels for 1 or 2 minutes, then put all the chicken into a large bowl.
- Drizzle evenly with sauce, and gently toss to coat. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, then top with sliced scallions and cilantro.