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Fried Chicken with Gochujang Sauce & Slaw

Edward Lee

Lesson time 17 min

Edward teaches classic Fried chicken while including his twist of a spicy gochujang-based sauce with a sprinkling of furikake. Learn how to make the best buttermilk fried chicken, and top it off with a unique Korean sauce and a tangy, bright Asian pear slaw. Your chicken will be tender with a crispy exterior.

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– Fried chicken. Quite possibly my favorite thing to eat in this world. I have eaten fried chicken from a gas station to like the best restaurants in the world. There is no bad fried chicken. There are only levels of good. And the cool thing about fried chicken is that it’s easy to make, it’s hard to mess up, and I wanna show you how to make a really, really good version of fried chicken. And then I’m going to add my own twist to it. Let’s start with chicken, got some chicken here. And I got some buttermilk. Why buttermilk? There’s an acidity in buttermilk, which is gonna help to break down and tenderize the chicken. It’s also going to add a little bit of flavor. So I don’t ever cook white meat with chicken. There’s not enough fat in it. And part of the flavor of fried chicken is gonna come from the bone, which is going to sort of release flavor. For me, fried chicken is dark meat. You got legs, your drumsticks, and your thighs. And you wanna leave the skin on. And really all I’m gonna do is take my chicken, and dunk it into the buttermilk. So make sure that the chicken is completely covered in the buttermilk. You can let that go for an hour, or it can go overnight. The longer it stays, the more tender the chicken is gonna be. So I’m gonna let that marinate. And while that’s marinating, I’m going to make my Korean gochujang sauce. I got a bunch of ingredients I’m working with here. For you guys who don’t know what gochujang is, basically it’s a Korean fermented chili paste, which has all the heat of chili, but it also has this amazing deep umami flavor. It’s got a little bit of sweetness in it, there is some sugar in there. It’s spicy, it’s hot, but it doesn’t sort of melt your face off. So I’m going to go roughly about six ounces of this. So whenever I’m making a complicated sauce like this, I wanna make sure I have all my ingredients lined up. Sesame oil, Dijon mustard. I’ve got some pickles here. These are jalapeno pickles, I’m gonna use the pickle juice from that. Honey, garlic powder, Worcestershire, and soy sauce. And all of these are gonna go right in here and we’re just going to whisk it together. Sesame oil gives you nuttiness. To me chili spices is in the back of the throat, it’s very deep, it’s very rich. Mustard’s gonna be a much brighter spice. It’s gonna be a little bit more upfront, a little bit more nasal. Here I want acidity. So you’re always going to need some kind of acidity to cut through all of this. We can use straight vinegar, but this is also a brine that I make from my jalapeno pickles. I always add that to it. Next up, we got honey. For obvious reasons, sweetness, beautiful honey, I’m gonna add a little bit of garlic powder. Garlic powder is not something I usually use, but for this recipe, it just adds that garlic flavor. I don’t want fresh garlic in here, it’s too strong. Worcestershire. I’m gonna add quite a bit of that. I’m adding fermentation. I’m adding salt. I’m adding umami, I’m adding just flavor. And again, you’re not gonna taste the Worcestershire, but you’re definitely gonna taste what it’s doing there. And last but not least, a little bit of soy sauce. Because every Asian sauce has soy sauce in it. We’re adding salinity via soy sauce. Alright, so I’ve got this all in my bowl. Take a whisk, and it just comes together. Okay and then just to finish it off, I’m gonna add a little bit of water, and the water just helps texturally. Kind of brings it all together. And what I’m going for is a texture that is going to be thick enough so that it’s gonna feel good in your mouth, but thin enough, where it’s gonna coat every little surface, and nook, and cranny in the fried chicken. All right, it kind of flows right off that whisk. It’s not a paste anymore, but it’s thick enough so that it’s gonna coat that chicken. So now that sauce is gonna hold. Gonna clean up all this stuff, and we’re gonna get ready for our chicken fry. The fried chicken that we’re used to today is basically a restaurant fried chicken, which is a deep fry, not a shallow fry. So today we’re going to do a shallow fry. We’re going to really sorta travel back in time and make fried chicken the way it was probably done a hundred years ago. So we have flour. To this I’m gonna add a little bit of salt. And here I’ve got some white pepper. A little bit of paprika, a little bit of smoked paprika. This is gonna be really key here. It’s going to add just enough spice That gets blended in. All right now. This is a trick that I learned from a nice old lady here in Kentucky, who was generous enough to show me her secret to fried chicken. And it has been the way I make fried chicken ever since. So the key with this is we dredge, and then we lay it over some egg cartons. I don’t want to put this on a flat surface because what’ll happen is that surface, and that chicken will start to stick together. The buttermilk and the flour are coming together and they’re creating a crust. So what happens is if I started to fry my chicken right now, all this flour, that’s just delicately on top of the chicken will release. It’ll go right into the deep frying oil, and it won’t stick to the chicken. While we’re waiting for that, I’m gonna heat up my fry oil. All right, fry oil. I’m actually, for this I’m just using a corn oil. I don’t wanna use anything too fancy, or too expensive, ’cause obviously we’re gonna use a lot of oil. It should take about 10, 15 minutes to get up to temp. By the time that’s ready, the chicken should be ready to add to it. Basically you wanna get up to about 350 degrees. So just take the necessary precautions. Always have a lid handy. If the oil does catch on fire, the fastest way to put it out, is just put a lid on top of it. The last thing you wanna do is actually ever drop something in this hot oil. Everything should be very, very, very soft and gentle. So we’ll start with the chicken here. It really depends on the size of your chicken, but you’re gonna cook for about 12 to 16 minutes, and as you can see the top is sticking out of the oil and that’s okay. What you’re going to do is part of the necessary technique when you’re shallow frying is you gotta keep turning the chicken in the oil. Just very gently. Now, if you want to, you can set a timer. These chickens are on the medium size, so we’re gonna go for about 14 minutes in here and see how they go. In the meantime, I’m gonna make my slaw. I’ve got some fried chicken and I’m gonna want something fresh, crunchy, really bright to sort of pair with the fried chicken. I’ve got some Asian pear. Got my cabbage. I’ve got some herbs, and a bunch of cilantro. It’s important, so I’m gonna make slaw but I’m gonna sort of keep one eye on this, and I’m sorta gently moving the chicken every now and then. Just so that that doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Make sure it’s cooking evenly on all sides. If something changes in the sound of the sizzling chicken, I’ll know something’s changing also in the cooking process. So I’ll look for it. I’m gonna start with a couple of cabbage leaves. All right. So just got a little bit of cabbage. I’m just going to make really thin, as thin as you can possibly go. Really thin little matchsticks. Okay. It grows cheap, and it grows plentiful and that’s cabbage. And so a lot of Southerners have relied on cabbage for their sustenance, whether in the form of braised cabbage, coleslaw, there’s many, many different ways. Mostly coleslaw will be just cabbage. For me, I’m gonna do a coleslaw with cabbage and Asian pear. And I love the way the two kind of work together. They’re both very crispy. There’s not too much acidity in Asian pear. It’s more of a sweet, delicate flavor. And we’re gonna go ahead and throw it all in there. All right. Every few minutes I wanna just flip that chicken over. And then I’ve got my herbs. Cilantro for a kind of like a bright aromatic, and almost a different flavor, a milder flavor. Alright, so I’ve got my herbs here. And I’m just gonna do a nice rough chop. Cut on one side, flip it over. Come across. I don’t want it chopped too fine. If you notice I love my ginger. And I’ve got my salt. You want a good amount of salt in there. White pepper. For coleslaw we do want a little bit of sugar in there. Plain old white sugar will be fine. And then vinegar. All I’m gonna do at this point is just toss it, really get in there. Slaws are meant to be roughhoused a little bit. Look at that. All right as you can tell, the fried chicken is looking beautiful. You got a nice crust on there. When you’re doing fried chicken outside of cutting into it, you really don’t know when it’s done. And I think that’s where time is always going to be a very important factor. You have basically no crust floating on the oil. All the crust has stayed on the chicken. Your oil is basically still clean. When I take the fried chicken out, I’m gonna cool my oil. I’m gonna strain it through a fine sieve, and I’m gonna reuse the oil. The oil is just like new. You can almost bounce a penny off this crust. Beautiful. I’m gonna grab paper towels, just to drain any excess oil. You kind of drain off a little bit of the excess oil and you want to go right on paper towels. All right, look at that. So beautiful. Gonna transfer this here. There’s a little oil, but barely any oil on there. You’ve got beautiful classic fried chicken. You’ve got a crust that’s absolutely perfect and crackling. I tap a spoon on it. It almost cracked under there. You’ve got all this texture in there. You get a beautiful crust and you bite into it. It’s just gonna crack. And then just sort of bend. Underneath it you have some really moist, beautiful, seasoned, marinaded chicken. Here’s my coleslaw. Really bright, really acidic, really herbal and fresh. But I’m gonna add one more layer to it because that’s what I do. Remember my Korean gochujang sauce. This is a perfect crust, and it’s dry, and it’s moist inside. The minute we add a wet sauce to it, it’s going to sort of take away some of that crunch. So you want to apply this sauce right before you go ahead and serve it. You’re gonna carefully drizzle this right on there. Just enough to coat the layers. You’re gonna have this beautiful, spicy, umami, rich sauce, but your skin underneath is still gonna be crunchy. And you just let the sauce run over the side of the chicken. One of my favorite spices, I got a little furikake, which is a Japanese seaweed blend. So you’ve got dried Nori, got Sesame seeds, got a little bit of bonito flakes. Goes right on top. Gonna add another layer of crunch. We’re gonna go, one thigh, and one drumstick, just like that. Man, that’s beautiful. Gochujang fried chicken, Asian pear slaw on the side. Perfect.

About the Instructor

James Beard Award winning writer and best-selling cookbook author Edward Lee takes viewers from the farm to his restaurants and home in Louisville, Kentucky and teaches lessons on his beloved dishes including Fried Chicken with Gochujang Sauce, Oysters and Grits, Cabbage-Steamed Fish, and more.

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