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Start As You Mean to Go On

So, I've never been one for fad diets. Never. I was briefly vegetarian when I was at school but it's not even worth mentioning because I think I lasted a week - if that. I just can't stick to a diet. Not one that's intended to make me lose weight anyway. I try and eat healthily, seasonally and, if I can, ethically all year round. And yes, I like a treat. I love cake (duh) and chocolate (double duh) and I really do love fried food.

But fried food is not something I can bring myself to eat often. For one thing, my liver won't hack it. I know that from experience. For another, while I enjoy the fried food at the moment of the eating, about two hours later I still feel full and that itself is uncomfortable.

I've figured out my problem. I rarely fry my own food. My fried food tends to be a take-away, which means the portion size is twice what I should eat. So to solve my fried food craving, I've had to bite the bullet and fry my own food. Shame. Then comes the question: what to fry?

Can I just say, I didn't plan to write my first blog post of the year on fried food. Particularly when the trend at this time of year is KALE and SALAD and LOSE WEIGHT IN FIVE EASY STEPS. But in the words of Lauren Cooper: "Face, bovvered?" Anyway, the Mr. is also partial to the odd fried piece of meat. And, luckily for me, he is also very good at finding recipes for exactly what he wants.

Like a very easy Korean fried chicken recipe from the Hairy Bikers. The recipe that they have is easy and designed for whole chicken thighs. We decided to turn them into Korean chicken Po' Boys. These sandwiches are delicious and go really nicely with a crisp, fresh slaw. Please don't eat them all yourself, make them when you have people coming round. They will make you very popular, I promise. Unless all your friends are vegetarian.

Hairy Bikers' Korean Chicken

  • 5 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into smaller chunks

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • Soft hot dog rolls

  • Kimchi

For the brine:

  • 100g caster sugar

  • 75g salt

  • 1.2l water

For the breading:

  • 35g plain flour

  • 15g cornflour

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the batter:

  • 125g plain flour

  • 25g cornflour

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 100ml vodka

  • 100ml ice cold water

For the chilli sauce:

  • 2 tbsp gochujang

  • 1 tbsp tabasco

  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Boil 200ml of the water for the brine and dissolve the sugar in it. Add the remaining water and salt and brine the chicken for 2 hours to tenderise it.

Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the breading together so that they're well combined. Then, add the dry ingredients of the batter to a separate bowl. Whisk in the ice cold water and the vodka until you have a smooth, thin batter.

When the two hours is nearly done (i.e.: not too soon), heat a good amount of vegetable oil in a wok or large saucepan - enough oil to deep fry not shallow fry. Heat the oil to 160 degrees C and no hotter or else the batter on the chicken will burn before the chicken is cooked.

After the two hours is up, drain, rinse and pat the chicken dry with kitchen roll. Roll each piece in the breading and pat off the excess, then dip them into the batter. Let any excess drip of then, one by one, carefully lower the chicken pieces into the oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes and then take them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

When all the chicken is done, turn the heat up so that the oil reaches 190 degrees C. Re-fry the chicken for 2 minutes until it has darkened. Drain on fresh kitchen roll and leave the oil aside to cool.

Slice the rolls down the middle and brush the sides with the chilli sauce. Add some kimchi to each roll - I made my own from the kitchn's recipe but you can find it in larger supermarkets now as well. Then add your chicken to the rolls and garnish with spring onions or coriander.

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