Monday, October 12, 2009

Chasing THE Korean Fried Chicken Recipe

This article has a lot of people running for the nearest Bon Chon Chicken and surfing the web for any reasonably accurate KFC recipe. Being home bound these days sent me to the cabinet, looking for the right ingredients and checking out a few choice recipes to see what i could do to satisfy my fry-tooth. Any reader knows I will go a long way for some good KFC

I was hoping to try 4 variations to see which made the most accurate KFC version. Time was against me, so tonight I tried two of the four. All of the methods will involve the double fry method, which appears essential.

I took 3 pounds of chicken wings and marinated overnight in garlic, salt, some oil, some water and some rice wine vinegar.

The first of the two batches was dredged in straight corn starch and the second batch was dredged in a mixture of both corn starch and white rice flour.

Each batch of wings was deep fried (not pan fried like southern fried chicken) for ten minutes, taken out for ten to rest, and then re-fried for another ten minutes. The oil (corn) was kept as close to 350 the entire time as possible.

Once done, the chicken rested for 5 minutes and was then mixed in a reduced syrup of soy sauce, vinegar, honey and garlic.

The results for this initial try were:

1) pure corn starch is better than a mixture of corn starch and rice flour. The rice flour clearly browns at a higher temperature, and so the resulting chicken was not as dark or crispy as with the straight corn starch.

2) the sauce really matters. While my initial mixture was good, it was not sweet enough and had too strong a soy flavor. A light soy would be better, and some mirin would have been useful as it combined both a light soy and a sweetness. Some brown sugar might also have helped, or some rock candy melted. I have to work on this a bit.

3) Temperature matters. The chicken is crispy - even once it is covered in the sauce - which was a key feature, but the meat is pretty dry. I'd rather do the first fry at 350 for 10 and then a second fry at 375 for 5 minutes to try and keep some of the moisture in. juicy chicken is always better.

So, of the two - corn starch chicken wins, but the sauce and temperature need adjusting.

Next up in our exploration, KFC made with a wet batter.