If I’m going to start blogging again, I figured the best post for me to start with, would be a food post!
I lived in Seoul, Korea for 2 years when I was in the Army. As an 18 or 19 year old, I didn’t really take advantage of being in a different country and exploring their food culture. I was too busy hanging with friends and drinking in Itaewon (where a lot of the American soldiers hung out). My Korean food experience mostly consisted of eating cheese ramen or beef on a stick for $1 in a hole in the wall after a night of clubbing.
As the years progressed, my appreciation of food has grown and for Korean food especially. Los Angeles has a wonderful Korean food scene. There was a Korean buffet that I went to so often, they still remember me when I visit (and I moved away over 10 years ago).
For Arran and I, food is definitely our love language. He loves trying out new foods and I love sharing foods with him that I love. A few years ago, we were in a Korean restaurant in Birmingham and they had Korean fried chicken on the menu. I excited for him to try it. And was incredibly disappointed when it arrived. This was not what I would consider good Korean fried chicken, it barely had any sauce and wasn’t very crispy.
Well after raving about KFC to the Brit and having such a subpar experience, I did what I always do and started searching for a recipe online. Maangchi is my favorite place online for Korean recipes so I went there first and her KFC recipe is one of the most popular recipes on her website. So this was the version I decided to make.
One of the things that makes KFC so crispy and crunchy is the double frying process. When I first started making it, I was so nervous, I’m not a deep fryer but the heart wants, what it wants and this heart wanted KFC! It was so good we were eating it 2 or 3 times a month. Great for my tummy, not so great for my arteries so I modified the recipe for an air fryer. I also made some changers to Maangchi’s recipe, based on my personal preference.
When Nancy and her bf Josh came to visit me, I knew we would have to make a double batch so I was using the air fryer and deep frying at the same time. She says she couldn’t tell the difference between what was air fried and what was deep fried. The biggest difference is when you deep fry the chicken, it will still be crispy the next day, even though it’s covered in sauce. With the air fried chicken, it’s only crispy when it’s freshly cooked. The leftovers are still delicious, they just won’t have the crunch factor.
Keep in mind, when I cook, there are some things I’m exact on, like the proportions of the sauce and some things I’m not, like the amount of wings, mainly because that’s different all the time based on where I buy them from.
1 package of chicken wings (no such thing as too much sauce and if it looks like a lot of wings, I double the sauce)
2/3 cup potato starch or corn starch (tapioca starch also works)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 4 sliced Thai chilis
1 tablespoon Korean chili powder (gochugaru), use this, not red pepper flakes. There’s a big difference in taste.
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice syrup or corn syrup (I’ve also used honey)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard (I use Coleman’s mustard powder but you can use jarred mustard)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Cut the wings in half. I like leaving the tips on because it saves on time and I enjoy chewing on that little bit of skin. Dry the chicken wings and coat with the starch (honestly, I never measure this, just sprinkle enough to cover the chicken) and squeeze each wing so the starch adheres to the wing.
I put a batch in the air fryer for 8 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) then flip them over and cook for another 7 minutes at the same temp. Do not overfill your air fryer basket. Unlike the photos, you can’t pile food on top of each other in the air fryer so depending on the size of your air fryer, you will be doing at least 2 or 3 batches.
Pull those out and do a second batch at the same time and temp.
Now put your original batch in and cook for 8 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit) and then turn them over and cook for another 7 minutes.
Same with 2nd batch. Basically the cooking time total for each batch is 30 minutes. If the wings are small then cook a little less. If they are meaty, then a little more. I used to spray oil on my wings but with using a high heat, it will crisp up the skin without the oil.
While the wings are cooking, make the sauce. Cook the ginger, garlic, Thai chilies and gochugang in the oil until aromatic, about 30 seconds. The smell of all of this together is amazing.
I add all of the sauces together ahead of time in a large measuring cup since the cooking process is so fast. Add soy sauce, corn syrup, vinegar, mustard to the spices. Stir together for a minute and then mix in the brown sugar. Cook until bubbling (its quick, maybe a minute) and set aside until the wings are done.
Once the wings are finished, drop a few at a time in the sauce and move around to cover the wings. Sometimes the sauce is runny, sometimes it is thick. It it gets too thick (usually when the sauce it running out) then heat it up. Will make it thinner and easier to get that last little bit of sauce.
If there’s any sauce leftover, pour over the top.
If you don’t have an air fryer (I love mine so much I have 2, I needed a bigger one, mainly for KFC, LOL) then here are the directions for deep frying.
Heat 4 cups of vegetable oil for 7/8 minutes on a high heat. The add the wings individually. Do not overfill the pan, you don’t want wings clumping together. Cook for 12/13 minutes, make sure you turn the wings a few times. If you are only making one batch, then pull the wings out and put on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. If you are doing a 2nd batch then while those are cooling, add the 2nd batch to the oil and cook. If only one batch, turn off the oil while the chicken cools for 5 to 10 minutes. After the first batch has cooled (or you’re done with your 2nd batch) add the chicken to the oil and fry for a 2nd time for 12 to 15 minutes). The skin should look and feel crispy and look darker than the first time you fried. Once done, add to the sauce.
This KFC recipe is delicious hot or cold. It’s sweet and spicy but not uncomfortably hot. Nancy is a spice wuss and it’s got just enough burn to be enjoyable and balanced with the sweetness. We eat until we can’t eat anymore and then eat the leftovers cold.