Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Recipe: Korean Fried Chicken Nuggets (양념닭)

I received a box of Kikkoman Kara-Áge Soy-Ginger Seasoned Coating Mix courtesy of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program to review. I didn't sign up for it the first time around because I couldn't think of a Korean way to use this classic Japanese cooking technique. By the time the chance came around again, I knew I wanted to experiment with the Kara-Áge coating and find out if it could be a recipe-less way to make basic Korean fried chicken.

The box contains two mix pouches, each able to easily coat 11/2 pounds of chicken or fish. Two pouches, so here are two versions.

The first version I simply made "straight up" with diced chicken thighs, following the directions on the packet without addition, elaboration or substitution. The coating was light and crisp. When fried according to the directions, the chicken bites weren't greasy.

"This is what chicken nuggets should taste like," Hubby said, referring to the crisp yet not lumpy crust.

The second version, I made with diced chicken breasts. To spice them up Korean fried chicken–style, I added spicy curry powder to the coating mix and a light layer of Korean hot sauce just before serving with a small bowl of fried rice.

-Korean Fried Chicken Nuggets (양념닭 Yangnyeomdak)

Chicken ingredients

1 pouch Kikkoman Kara-Áge Soy-Ginger Seasoned Coating Mix
11/2 pound chicken, either breast or thigh meat
1 tablespoon Korean curry powder
  1. Pour coating mix into a one-gallon plastic locking bag
  2. Dice 11/2 pounds chicken breast into 11/2-inch, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Rinse chicken pieces with water and allow most of the water to drain away from the chicken. 
  4. Put the chicken into the bag and shake the chicken in the mix until the chicken pieces are completely coated. 
  5. Add sunflower oil into a large cast-iron skillet until there's 1/4 inch of oil in the skillet. Heat it up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit over medium heat.
  6. Put in one handful of chicken pieces at a time to the heated oil. (The coating mix box says add a dozen pieces at a time. Every handful ended up being about a dozen pieces without tedious counting.)
  7. Set timer for four minutes (for diced chicken thigh) or three minutes (for diced chicken breast). Turn over the chicken chunks frequently in the hot oil until they are golden brown. 
  8. Put the cooked chicken pieces onto a towel-draped towel to drain, and repeat steps 6-8 until all the chicken is cooked. Set aside. 
  9. Discard the unused coating mix in the bag. I found that there was very little coating mix left, so I didn't feel wasteful to throw the unused coating away.

Sauce (양념 Yangnyeom) ingredients

2 tablespoons chives, finely minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons 고추장 gochujang (spicy Korean red pepper paste)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon garlic
1/2 tablespoon 고추가루 gochugaru (spicy Korean red pepper powder) or Hungarian hot paprika
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  1. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Heat in microwave for about 30 seconds to one minute to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Brush a light coating of sauce on the chicken pieces. You don't want to marinate the chicken in the sauce, else they won't be as crisp.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a box of Kikkoman® Kara-Áge Soy-Ginger Seasoned Coating Mix to test out and review. I received no other compensation for this post.

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