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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2007

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Tasty fried chicken, Asian style

By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Columnist

Video: How to make daikon
 •  Staying true to her (kitchen) self

Korean fried chicken is a new fave in big cities nationwide, in chains such as Bon Chon, Two Two, Kyochan and Kyedong. New Yorkers and Angelenos are fascinated by these "hofs" taverns not unlike Japanese izakaya, specializing in pupu, beer and the Korean liquor soju.

A reader wrote in to ask how to make Korean fried chicken at home, and how to make the cubes of sweet daikon pickle that serve as free pupu in hofs.

Friends, deep-frying is not my thing. I've never been able to do it well. But I've learned to love Asian-style fried chicken as served in delis and restaurants here because of the interesting flavors and the light coating.

Here are some tips:

Both Korean fried chicken and Japanese karaage have this in common: The cuts are relatively small (as many as 6 or 7 pieces from one skin-on chicken thigh), whether bone-in or boneless. The breading is thin and the chicken is fried twice once for 10 minutes or so at a relatively low temperature (about 325 to 350 degrees), then drained, held until serving time and flash-fried at a more conventional deep-frying temperature (360 to 375) until crisp and heated through. Serve immediately.

Koreans use a very light dusting of unseasoned flour; the flavor is all in the dipping sauces, either garlic or a sweet-hot mixture (commercial versions are available). Japanese generally marinate the chicken first (shoyu, sake, garlic, salt, maybe sugar or mirin), drain it well, dredge in cornstarch or potato starch, then fry.

Recently, I made a pretty good Korean fried-chicken sauce and added it to store-bought chicken I'd brought home: 1 1/2 cups shoyu, 1/4 cup honey (or molasses), 1/4 cup sugar or brown sugar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds and 3 stalks minced green onion. Heat the shoyu in a small pot, add remaining ingredients except green onion; bring to a boil, then cool. Add green onions. Serve over hot or cold Korean fried chicken. (I also made a vegetarian version, baking tofu slices in the sauce.)

As for the marinated daikon: Peel and cube 1 pound daikon, place in colander with 2 tablespoons Hawaiian salt and allow to drain 1 hour. Rinse well in cold running water and press dry. Place in a marinade of 1 cup EACH vinegar (any kine), water, sugar. Ready to use in 4 hours and holds for a week in refrigerator.

  • Per serving: (about 2-3 oz). 25 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 700 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 1 g protein

    Enjoy as is with beer or, just before serving, stir in 1 teaspoon ko chu jang (Korean spicy bean paste).

    Send recipes and queries to Wanda A. Adams, Food Editor, Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802. Fax: 525-8055. E-mail: wadams@honoluluadvertiser.com.

    For more information about our 150th anniversary cookbook, call 535-8189 (message phone; your call will be returned). You can order the cookbook online.