Saucy Korean Fried Chicken

Saucy Korean Fried ChickenFirst off, always give credit where credit is due. Although there are some subtle changes that make this recipe my own, I definitely used Anthony Bourdain’s recipe as a major leaping off point. As soon as I read that he uses a two day technique with a partial fry and a freeze in the middle, I knew I had stumbled upon the right way to do these. I later played with the two fry option without the over night freeze and was totally just as successful.

As for my other inspiration? The first one came when the owner of the New Central Market asked me to personally make her Korean Fried Chicken for her birthday, as she says no one in Anchorage seems to be able to get them done right. Challenge excepted! Make authentic Korean food for a Korean woman? I really hope I don’t screw this up!…

It actually worked out quite well! (Other than the fact that it happened to fall on the same weekend that we were resurfacing our building, but you can check that whole project out here.) I did the marinade and first fry on Saturday afternoon and then finished with the second fry and sauce on Sunday morning, the Birthday, right before we drove them over to Somya. Unfortunately I didn’t get to video her reaction, which was great, but we did get a couple photos together.

Somya Hot Wing SupriseKorean Hot Wings for Somya

The idea of a two day process makes it seem like it will be daunting, but really it makes it quite easy in that you aren’t having to squeeze in all the steps on the day you are serving. The marinade and sauces can each be made at any time and stored in the fridge, and that sauce? IT’S AWESOME-SAUCE! Seriously, it is. You can obviously use it for fried chicken, but it’s great as a vegetable or meat dip alone, and would be perfect for stir-fry and/or tofu. As for the marinade? I offered the fully cooked chicken that had not yet been sauced to Andrew and my Mother and both agreed that the marinade alone was enough to flavor a great, milder, fried chicken.

If you want to knock-the-socks-off-it at your next game night, I highly suggest this recipe!

Korean Spicy Fried Chicken with Sauce

Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

By: semiserious chefs
Serves: 4 pounds


  • 4 pounds of chicken wings, drums, or thighs as desired
  • For Frying:
    • 2 cups potato or tapioca starch*
    • Fryer with vegetable or peanut oil


  • 1 cup chili oil (a 7 oz bottle)*
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 T gochugaru

For Saucing After Fry:

  • 1 cup gochujang
  • 8 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup*
  • 1/8 t maple flavor
  • 2 t fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce*
  • 1/4 cup rice cooking wine*
  • 2 t MSG (optional but suggested for the umami flavor it adds)

Starch Choice: Tapioca and Potato starches bread a little thicker than corn starch or rice flour.
Chili Oil: I made sure that it was a soy based chili oil because a sesame based chili oil would have an extremely different flavor.
Corn Syrup and Maple Flavor: The original recipe called for a 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup but I know from experience that pure maple has a different sugar content and flavor intensity, and for way cheaper you can use corn syrup and maple flavor to get the same result.
Hot Sauce: The original recipe called for Franks Hot Sauce. Great stuff, but you can use a more generic version just as well, just look for one that includes garlic on the ingredient list if at all possible.
Rice Cooking Wine: There are Korean, Japanese, and Chinese versions of rice cooking wine. You could use Sake, but there is no reason to pay good money for a cooking grade rice wine.


  1. Prepare the marinade by whisking together the chili oil, sea salt, and gochugaru. Toss it with your chicken in a large bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Or about as long as it takes to watch one episode of M*A*S*H)
  2. Preheat your deep fryer, or appropriate strove top frying set-up, to 300°F. Mean while remove each piece of marinaded chicken from the bowl, allow excess sauce to drip off, and generously roll in the starch.
  3. Fry the chicken, working in batches, for 6-8 minutes each. They will not be fully cooked, only about 75%.  Let all of the partially fried chicken cool on racks over lined baking sheets. At this point you can continue to step 6 or when they are at room temperature wrap your whole group in plastic and freeze overnight. The two-fry technique truly is the key to truly crispy fried chicken.
  4. The next day remove the chicken and let warm at room temperature for one hour. (This is a good time to watch another M*A*S*H episode.) Separate your pieces for even thawing.
  5. Time to make the sauce that you will brush on your finished chicken. (It is also great for stir fry and dipping.) Add the gochujang, minced garlic, soy sauce, corn syrup, maple flavor, fish sauce, hot sauce, rice wine, and MSG to a bowl and whisk. (You can also puree it in a food processor.)
  6. Now, working at 350°F, deep fry each piece of half cooked chicken again, in batches as needed, this time for a solid 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and completely cooked through. Let rest on a rack over a lined baking sheet, and when cool enough to handle sauce heavily with that scrumptious goodness.
  7. I highly suggest picking out a few favorite Banchan to serve along side with steamed rice to make it  a meal.




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