Quickly crispy-fried, to keep the succulence in, where it belongs, Korea's Dak Kang Jung delivers seriously spicy and brazenly candied chicken. Sublime.
The lingering of winter. The laments of February. The daydreaming of exotic far off lands. The craving for heat. The love of hot, sticky, gooey.
Yup, that's the breadcrumb sesame seed trail that led me directly to Korean Crispy Chicken or Dak Kang Jung. I think Korea should seriously consider renaming this traditional dish, Dak Kang Jung Yum!
Chicken breasts cut into strips, gently dry coated and egged, then fried to golden crispiness will have you patting yourself on the back (already!) that it was so easy to make this amazing looking fried chicken. Not yet! Just wait, my lovelies!
The spicy, sweet sauce is speckled with thin slices of ginger root that get gloriously chewy and candied, lending their own brand of warmth to the punch of heat from the dried chiles.
Then there's the tossing in of toasted sesame seeds and really roughly chopped roasted peanuts. Texture baby, and layers of flavours. Mmmmm......
I changed things up a bit to make this one my own, but many gamsahabnida to 'Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook' food blog where I serendipitously happened upon this drool worthy Dak Kang Jung, Yum!
KOREAN CRISPY CHICKEN with SWEET & SPICY SAUCE - 4-6 servings
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey or corn syrup
3 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 heaping teaspoon dried red chile flakes (or less if you're not craving the heat)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips or pieces
5 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
Canola oil, for frying
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/3 cup roasted, salted peanuts, very roughly chopped
Make Sweet & Spicy Sauce: In medium pot, combine water, brown sugar, rice vinegar, honey or syrup, sliced ginger, soy sauce and chile flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat medium low-ish to keep mixture at a gentle, but steady boil. Cook until mixture become syrupy and thick and starts to foam. It should have the consistency of honey. Remove from heat. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces in large bowl, add flour mixture and turn and toss to evenly coat chicken. Add the beaten egg and mix until chicken pieces are coated in batter.
Heat oil in a wok or pan and deep fry the chicken pieces, in batches, approximately 5-7 minutes, until golden. Keep warm while frying the rest of the chicken.
Meanwhile heat the sauce on medium-low. Pour warmed sauce, sesame seeds and peanuts over crispy cooked chicken pieces and toss until coated. Serve hot with sticky rice and a tall, icy one. Or two.