What is Korean Fried Chicken? Many decades ago, Koreans came up with a uniquely addictive variety of fried chicken that people just can’t seem to get enough of. With a super crispy crust and a deliciously sweet savory spicy sauce, Korean Fried Chicken is affectionately known as the other KFC.
Perhaps the most famous Korean Fried Chicken chain here in the US is Bonchon Chicken, which has 100 restaurants in the US alone. Bonchon opened its first American outlet in 2006, and while other restaurants are shutting down during the coronavirus pandemic, Bonchon is one of very few restaurant chains that continues to grow and actually add more outlets in 2020.
As much as my family loves the other KFC, I never made it at home. From the grease splatters to the lingering oil smell to the leftover oil I never quite know what to do with, I hate deep frying and long ago decided to leave deep fried treats to the occasional restaurant meal.
Korean Fried Chicken is also widely available for take-out in most major cities, so it surprised me when in a single week, I got three separate requests for this dish. It was time to strategize.
Enter the Air Fryer
I’d been eyeing an air fryer for some time but was reluctant to get yet another kitchen appliance. The Korean Fried Chicken challenge was the tipping point and I purchased a teeny little one by Dash for 49.99.
I got a mint colored retro looking model and this super cute petite workhorse fit right into a snug little corner of my kitchen. It hit the ground running and has been working overtime ever since.
The set and forget process of using an air fryer reminds me of using a toaster and it is quickly turning out to be my favorite kitchen toy. After the air fryer turned out goguma in half the time it usually takes in the oven, and the crispiest mandu ever, even my skeptical husband had to admit that this was a great purchase! We can’t wait to try making fish and chips next.
Cleanup is a breeze and best of all, the air fryer allows you to cook with a fraction of the oil it takes to cook other foods. One investment you might want to make is an oil mister. I use my Misto for spraying an even coat of oil onto pans and on food, and now I’m finding it perfect for cooking with an air fryer.
If you are cooking for more than two people, you’ll probably need a larger air fryer like this one which is great in that you can be more precise with the electronic settings.
Back to the Korean Fried Chicken
After making air fryer Korean fried chicken, the only word that came to mind was ‘Daebak’! Daebak means ‘awesome’ or ‘jackpot’ in Korean slang, and to reach Daebak level, you need something more than just delicious. In this case, it was the simplicity and ease of the cooking method combined with the reduced oil that made this dish deserving of the rank.
If you are on the fence trying to decide whether or not to get this appliance, I say you can’t go wrong with a little one like mine. And if you have a bit more space than I do in my two bedroom condo, get a larger one especially if you have a large family.
Now back to Daebak Korean Fried Chicken. This recipe is the bomb. The perfectly balanced sauce is not too sweet and not too spicy, and best of all it’s simple to make and you might already have all the ingredients in your pantry.
Can you deep fry the chicken instead of using an air fryer? Yes! Will it be Daebak Korean Fried Chicken? No, but only because it takes more work. Your chicken will still be incredibly delicious so either way, I hope you’ll try this recipe!
Air Fryer Korean Fried Chicken
Recipe adapted from I Am A Food Blog.
Ingredients (Recipe can be doubled or tripled)
- 1 lb chicken wings
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 cup corn starch
For the sauce
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp ginger grated
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- Wash the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Coat the chicken with oil, then season with salt and pepper. Put corn starch into a bowl, add the chicken and toss.
- Spray the air fryer basket with oil or use a paper towel to wipe a thin coat of oil onto it. Arrange the chicken in a single layer and air fry the chicken at 400ºF for 15 minutes. If your chicken doesn’t fit all at once, cook it in two batches.
- While the chicken is air frying, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium/low heat until it comes to a very brief boil. Or heat in the microwave.
5. When the 15 minutes is up, flip the chicken and air fry another 5 minutes, then transfer the chicken onto a plate or rack to cool for at least 5 minutes. **If you have a second batch of chicken, use this cooling time to cook the rest of your chicken.
6. After the chicken has cooled, spray the chicken with a very light coating of oil, place the chicken back in the air fryer and fry another 5 minutes at 400ºF. Brush or spoon sauce onto the chicken.
7. Garnish with scallions and enjoy immediately.
2 Qt. Compact Air Fryer by Dash, 49.99 , Colors: Aqua, Black, Gray, Red, White
3.7 Qt. Air Fryer by COSORI, 94.99 , (100 Recipes, Rack & 4 Skewers), Colors: Black, Red, White
7 Qt. Digital Air Fryer with Dehydrator & 3 Stackable Racks by GoWise, 85.99, Colors: Aqua, Black, Red
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