• Korean Fried Chicken


Maybe my best fried chicken recipe ever.

By Andrew Zimmern

Monday night I made my Korean Fried Chicken, in a new style, a combination of techniques that I think gave me the best of two worlds. Some like to mix potato and tapioca starches. Some like to use one or the other mixed with Panko breadcrumbs for a better textural effect and for soaking up more glaze. Some like a red sticky spicy Gochujang glaze, some prefer the other Korean style, with a sweet soy and garlic vibe.

For frying anything at two temps I can’t recommend the deep seven-quart electric skillet from All-Clad enough. When you’re cooling and draining after a 325-degree oil blanch you want a grate with a pan under it. You’ll get much better retention of the starch dredge.

My friend Esther Choi sent me her gochujang from Mokbar a while back and it’s what I used in the marinade and glaze, but you can buy some great ones or make your own if you love the hobbyist approach to condiments.

Korean Fried Chicken


The Chicken

  • 3 to 4 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs (It’s what I had on hand. Typically, I use bone-in legs and wings and fry a little longer but any pieces will do.)
  • Salt and black pepper, a nice big teaspoon of each
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup minced scallion
  • 1 small glug of toasted sesame oil, about 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons of Gochujang
  • A few tablespoons of water or rice wine to get nice coverage for your marinade

Dredging Mix

  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • A spray bottle with white vinegar for spritzing
  • For my 3-4 pounds of chicken I used about ¾ a cup of each starch and 1 ½ cups of Panko breadcrumbs.

The Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons Gochujang
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 7-8 large garlic cloves, passed through a Microplane
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes (You can use whatever you like, less or more. You can use Korean Gochugaru or use what you have on hand. I used a scorching Senegalese chili I bought in the market in Dakar that I just love.)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice wine or sake
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, I used golden ones from here
  • 1/3 cup Mirin
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar


Mix together the salt, pepper, ginger, scallion, sesame oil, Gochujang, water or rice wine, then massage the seasonings into the chicken. Let the seasoned chicken sit in fridge for 6-8 hours or at room temp for an hour while you prep the other ingredients.

To make the glaze, place the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sweat the shallot, garlic, and sesame seeds. Don’t burn the garlic!

Meanwhile whisk together all the other ingredients.

Once the shallot garlic mixture turns glassy, add the bowl of other ingredients and simmer until reduced to a glaze. Place in a large stainless steel work bowl and reserve in a warm spot in the kitchen.

Heat a few quarts of oil in a large frying pan to 325 degrees.

You want the oil about 3 inches deep. When you are frying, especially on the first pass, you want to make sure your chicken is below the oil surface.

In another large work bowl, whisk together the two starches and the breadcrumbs.

One at a time, dredge the marinated chicken pieces. Lift out, spray both sides with the vinegar in the spray bottle and dredge again.

Once all pieces are dredged, fry the chicken in batches, for about 12 minutes total.

Reserve to a grate placed over a pan to catch excess oil.

Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Raise oil temp up to 400 degrees.

Fry again for 3 to 4 minutes to get chicken brown and crispy, draining well.

Toss chicken in the warm glaze. Serve. Enjoy!

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