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February 25, 2011

Korean Fried Chicken, KFC vs KFC



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I have a confession to make.
It is about C H I C K E N.
I did not eat chicken for nearly 10 years. I was not a vegetarian nor under any religious restriction but there was a reason.
Here is the story...

I think I was about 9 years old. I was just an innocent little girl living in a small town of Korea. I often visited my grandparents, who lived only a few blocks from us, to play with their dog after school. (My mother would never allowed me to have a dog)
My grandparents lived in a big traditional Korean style house with a large front courtyard with a garden and a common area. They also had several small houses attached to this courtyard for their tenants.
It was one of those ordinary day like any day. There, I saw a scene that I shouldn't have.., a murder scene! A man, whom I believe one of my grandparent's tenant, was killing a CHICKEN. I don't want to describe how he did it. It was graphic enough for my innocent 9 year old eyes. I also saw a large pot with water boiling on the portable stove near him. That was for to remove the feathers of the chicken. I still remember the disgusting smell that came out of the pot when he put the dead chicken in there. I had a very bad nightmare that night. Yes, the dead chicken appeared in my dream and chased me...
Ever since that moment I did not eat chicken. I just couldn't... until I was 18 years old. So, how did I get to eat chicken again? Well, it was the KFC, the Kentucky Fried Chicken!
I grew up, finished high school and went to college in Seoul. My friend took me to KFC for lunch. I never tasted KFC before (I was from a small town where western fast food was not existent at that time).
I, the first time in almost 10 years, tasted chicken. The first bite of those greasy, salty, and slightly crispy fried chicken? Well.., it was a moment of enlightenment. My, oh, my! What have I been missing all these years? I never imagined chicken could taste so good.
Of course my taste bud on chicken has been evolved over the years. (I hardly eat the KFC any more)
I finally overcame the nightmares of the deceased chasing chicken and regained my taste on them - in a deep fried form...


I am sharing with you a special recipe for KFC, not the Kentucky version. 
It is the other KFC, the Korean Fried Chicken.
If you ever travel in Korea you should try the famous Korean fried chicken franchise called "Gyochon Chicken". Their chicken is very popular among Koreans. When I visited NYC a few weeks ago I found the similar chicken restaurant called "Bonchon" near 7th ave and 38th street. Their chickens are very tasty as well.  Honestly if you ever try the Korean Fried Chicken, You won't like the Buffalo wings anymore.
Of course I can not hack the secret recipe for both restaurants, but tried to imitate the flavor. And guess what? I think I came quite close to match.
So, here is my version of Korean Fried Chicken in a non-spicy version. The spicy version will come later some other day when I receive the chicken revelation from up above...


*****


Introducing my A-Team!
Chicken wing drummettes, garlic, ginger, radish, onion, brown sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, corn starch

I like to remove extra skin on the chicken. The skin adds nothing but fat.
It only takes extra 10 minutes of your life but it might prolong your life 10 days longer.


Combine chicken with rice wine, pureed ginger, salt and pepper. Let them chill for 30 minutes.
This will not only season the chicken but get rid of unpleasant poultry odor when frying.


Meanwhile, grate the radish. This is the key ingredient in the sauce, so do not skip.


Combine all the sauce ingredients in a pot


Bring the sauce to boil first and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, uncovered.
It will get thicken eventually.


Strain the sauce through a mesh. Press gently to get all the flavors out.


A beautiful glaze left behind.  It will thicken more as it cools.


Your chicken wings are cold without their coats. So, cover them with some corn starch in a bag.


Shake them, babe!  Shake, shake, shake!


Heat oil to 170ºC. Drop your wings without any mercy.


I like to deep fry them twice for crunchier texture and color. After 1st frying...


And after 2nd frying.
I sent one wing straight to heaven by putting into my mouth right away.
As good as it gets...


But with the sauce... What can I say more?
Brush the sauce all over the wings.


Sorry, camera shake!  It was so good that I was dancing with a joy.


No words!
.....

Oh!
You will need lots of napkins,
and cold soda to go with them.

And
Just in case...,
Pray before the bed time.
Your chicken may appear in your dream and ask for his lost wings.
"Give me back my wings!!!"

Enjoy!




Korean Fried Chicken
(Non-spicy version)
makes about 4 servings

3 lb (about 22-24 piece) chicken wing drummettes, preferably skin removed
2 Tbsp rice wine or Mirim
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp pureed fresh ginger
1/2 cup corn starch
Oil for frying

Sauce :
5 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
4-5 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup grated Korean radish or daikon radish
1/2 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 tsp corn starch
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl toss chicken pieces with rice wine, salt, pepper, and ginger. Chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile combine all the sauce ingredients in a small pot, bring to boil, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered. 
Place a mesh strainer in a small bowl and strain the sauce pressing to get all the juices out. Discard the stuff in the mesh. Your sauce will look like a glaze and will get thicken more as you let it sit. Warm up the sauce when ready to use.
When ready to fry, Heat oil to 170ºC. Toss the chicken pieces in a plastic bag with corn starch to coat evenly. Shake off excess corn starch from the chicken. Drop chicken pieces in the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes until slightly golden (Do this in separate batches so you don't crowd the pan). When last batches are fried, drop first batches in the hot oil again for second frying, about 3 minutes until nicely golden brown. Continue the other batches and fry all the chickens pieces twice. This will help chicken very crisp.
Brush warm sauce over hot chicken and serve immediately.

Note : I don't mind sharing my personal recipe with anyone but I would love to know whom I am sharing with.  Please, leave a comment if you are printing this recipe. Thank you.


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February 21, 2011

Kimcheese Rice Patties, Kimchee + Cheese = ^.^

When Kimchee meet cheese, it is heaven on earth. I call it Kimcheese.
As you know they both are fermented food, one is from cabbage and the other from milk of cow, goat, and/or sheep. I don't think Mr. Cow ever eats cabbages but perhaps he wouldn't mind having a blind date with Ms. Cabbage in the rice park. Kaboom! You won't believe how divinely delicious they are together.
My brilliant inspiration of putting these two fermented god and goddess together came from the Italian risotto ball I had at my local Neapolitan pizzeria called Pupatella. The true Neapolitan style pizza I love.
When I bite into a risotto ball as an appetizer, something just clicked me as an light bulb. "Why don't I mix Kimchee with cheese to make rice balls?" So I did.
Ooooh! you will love it, my dears... 
They are so meant to be together. Why on earth did I not try that before?

 So here I am... urging you to try this recipe. I will give you two options to choose from.
One is deep fried and the other pan seared. They both are good. The deep fried one offers irresistible crispness while pan seared one offers more aromatic substance to overall flavor. You will need well fermented cabbage Kimchee to bring out the full flavor.
I will share with you my East meets West version of rice patties. Kimchee rocks!


*****


Revealing my glorious ingredients!
Mozzarella cheese, Feta cheese, Kimchee, ground pork, parsley, green onion, eggs, flour, and panko crumbs. 


 
You will also need some cooked short grain rice and Parmesan cheese.


Squeeze your Kimchee to death to remove their juice.
Parental discretion advised. Looks a little R-rated on this scene. Scary...


 Chop Ms. Cabbage as fine as you can.


Saute the piggies in the hot oil until they are no longer shy in pink...


Chop the greens...


 
Add the chopped Kimchee and fry until it gets softened, about 6-7 minutes over medium heat.
When the Kimchee gets nice and soft, add green onion and parsley. 
Remove from the heat. Let it cool down for a few minutes.


 
 Add Mozzarella cheese and feta cheese, stir well.


 Add Parmesan cheese and pinch salt to rice and mix well.


Take some rice onto your hand and flatten it. Scoop the Kimchee mixture over rice.


Take more rice and cover the top. Gently squish it to mold into shape

My brain was tuned to a play-mode that moment so I made into triangle shape. 
If you want some fun, try star shape to see if it works...


 Prepare your coatings for deep frying.


 
 Coat with flour, egg, and panko crumbs.


Deep fry them, babe!  about 170ºC until NGB (Nice and Goden Brown).
Version 1 finished.


Version 2 : Want to know how you can pan sear these patties? Super easy...


 Just press onto Parmesan cheese on both sides.


Sear with a little bit of oil over hot skillet until NGB. You better serve these patties when hot.
Leftovers aren't that great unfortunately.


"Pretty Darn Good!"
A praise from my NOT so Kimchee-lover husband.
"You can totally sell these!"
He cheered me as he was devouring the patty.
I felt good and accomplished, then, made me wonder...
If a man ever tells the truth in regards of food his wife made.
Hmmmmm...
"Did he really like it or did he just say that to make me feel better?"
I hope someone can tell me the real truth.

Hope you like them...



Kimcheese Rice Patties
(김치즈 주먹밥, Kimcheese jumuk bap)
makes 6-8 patties


1/2 lb fermented cabbage kimchee
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 lb ground pork
1 green onion, chopped
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 cups cooked short grain rice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
pinch salt
flour, eggs, and panko bread crumbs for coating
oil for deep frying and/or pan sear

Squeeze out the kimchee to remove its juice, chop finely. 
Heat the skillet over medium heat, add oil and saute ground pork until brown. Add kimchee and continue to saute until kimchee gets softened, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat, add black pepper, green onion and parsley, toss. Rest the mixture to cool down for a few minutes. Add mozzarella cheese and feta cheese, mix well, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine rice with 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and pinch salt.
Grease your hand with a little oil.  Scoop some rice, about 2 Tbsp, on the palm of your hand and flatten it with the other hand. Put 1 1/2 Tbsp of kimchee mixture on top of the rice. cover with more rice over the kimchee and make sure to cover the kimchee completely. Gently squish the rice patties to make into desired shapes.
For Deep frying, coat the patties with flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs. Deep fry in 170ºC oil until golden brown.
For pan seared, press the patties onto the rest of the grated Parmesan cheese both sides. Heat a little oil in the skillet and sear the patties until it creates golden crust, about 3 minutes on each side.

 Note : I don't mind sharing my personal recipe with anyone but I would love to know whom I am sharing with.  Please, leave a comment if you are printing this recipe. Thank you.



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February 15, 2011

Steamed Egg Pudding, not much to say...

 I am, for some reason, very tired today...  I guess I am not a young spring chicken anymore. So, I won't blah-blah much. 
 Here is very simple side dish or main depends on the degree of your hungriness. It is super quick, easy to make egg dish. This is, perhaps, one of the softest and silkiest way of enjoying the eggs, but faaaaaaaar easier than French souffle.


*****


All you need is; Two happy eggs, some wicked salted shrimps (or salt), 
egg's mommy stock, and a lonely skinny green onion.


 
Beat eggs and add chicken stock.
Moment for the emotional bonding about to happen...


 This is an optional step and I usually skip this.
Straining through the mesh removes the lumps of egg white, which creates silkier texture.


 If these baby shrimps gross you out, use salt instead.
Chop up these wicked guys very fine and add to the beaten eggs.



 Pour them in a steam proof bowl, throw some green onion if you like...


 Put water in a pot that can reach to half way to the steaming bowl.
Place a small plate on the bottom.
It will help to stabilize the bowl when the water boils rapidly.


 Cover the bowl with foil and cover the pot with lid again.
Boil for 6-8 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


 Done!
 Eat carefully. 
It is HOT!


Wait a minute!
Suddenly a century old question came to my mind.
Which one came first?
A chicken or an egg?



Steamed Egg Pudding
(계란찜, Gyeran Jjim)
makes 1-2 serving


2 large eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp salted shrimps, finely chopped, or pinch salt
1 green onion, chopped

Combine all the ingredients in a steam proof bowl. Cover the bowl with foil.
In a pot filled with water that can reach to the half way up to the steam proof bowl in it, place a small plate on the bottom of the pot to secure the bowl during boiling. Place the bowl and cover the pot with a lid.
Boil over medium high heat for 6-8 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Be cautious! It is very hot. Serve hot or warm with a bowl of rice.



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