Ultimate KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)

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This stunning Korean fried chicken recipe by Judy Joo takes the dish to a whole new level. Take heed of Judy's useful tips for cooking the chicken – this method ensures that it will not get stuck to the bottom of the pan and will achieve that sought-after crispy coating.

First published in 2016

I have always loved fried chicken. But even though I grew up eating it in America, for me, 'KFC' stands for Korean fried chicken. There are many different versions, but what they all have in common is a very thin, hard crisp coating, which comes from using cornflour instead of flour, as well as double frying. My take on the dish, which includes vodka and matzo meal, is a little unorthodox and has a fair number of ingredients, but I call it 'ultimate' for a reason. To make it even better, serve with pickled radish and ice-cold beer.

Recipe extracted from Korean Food Made Simple: Easy and Delicious Korean Recipes to Prepare at Home by Judy Joo (Jacqui Small, £22). Photography by Jean Cazals




Chicken coating

BBQ sauce


  • 64g of cornflour
  • 20g of matzo meal, fine
  • 30g of plain flour
  • 2 tbsp of chilli flakes, preferably gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 90ml of vodka, or any other neutral tasting 40% alcohol
  • 2 tbsp of gochujang, (Korean chilli paste)
  • vegetable oil, for frying



To begin, make the coating for the chicken. Add the cornflour, salt, baking powder and a liberal amount of pepper to a large bowl. Stir together to combine


Add the chicken and toss around so that everything is nicely coated. Transfer to a wire rack, shaking off any excess, and leave uncovered at room temperature for approximately 1 hour

Now make the barbecue sauce. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 3–5 minutes until slightly thickened. This sauce can either be served as a dipping sauce or drizzled over the chicken before serving. If you choose the latter, remove the sauce from the heat early on for a thinner consistency. Serve the sauce warm or at room temperature
When ready to cook, place a large, wide, heavy-based pan (at least 13cm deep) over a medium-high heat, fill with oil (at least 5cm deep) and warm until it reaches 180°C
While the oil is heating up, make the batter. Whisk together the cornflour, matzo meal, flour, chilli flakes, garlic powder, onion powder and baking powder in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the chilli paste, vodka and 240ml water

Just before you're ready to cook the chicken, whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient – do not do this too far in advance as the batter will thicken too much. The consistency should be relatively thin and runny


Now cook the chicken in 2 batches – the thighs and legs in one and the wings in another. Dip each chicken piece in the batter and allow any excess to drip off. Suspend the chicken in the oil for a couple of seconds to allow a crust to form, then allow it to slip completely into the oil (otherwise it will stick to the base of the pan)


Fry the chicken for 15–20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until nicely golden brown, crispy and cooked through

Transfer to either a wire rack or to plates lined with kitchen paper to drain, then allow the oil to return to 180°C before cooking the second batch of chicken
Serve the chicken with the barbecue sauce, either drizzled on top or on the side

Judy Joo is a French-trained, Korean-American chef, writer and restaurateur whose culinary expertise spans the globe.

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