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Korean Fried Chicken Tenders

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As the clock ticks by, I hear you (well, your stomach) thinking “what’s for iftar?”. How about something sweet, something spicy, and something most definitely crunchy. Something like these Korean fried chicken tenders with a side of creamy gochujang mayonnaise – now that’s an iftar worth drooling about. 

This recipe is a little more hands on than what I’ve been posting but I feel like we deserve a treat once in a while during Ramadan, a deep-fried treat that is. It involves marinating, double frying, sauce making, tossing and what not, but these wings are friggin’ delicious and are worth every bit of work involved. 

The only ingredient that you may not have on hand is the gochujang, a sweet and hot red pepper paste, which you’ll be using in the sauce and the dipping accompaniment. You can easily order this from Amazon (the one I use is out of stock on Amazon but this is the one from another store and contains no alcohol) and unfortunately, you can’t really substitute this for anything else as it wouldn’t be the same. However, gochujang has many uses outside of fried chicken and can be used in soups, grilled chicken, dipping sauce etc. Just be sure to get the one which contains no added alcohol!

And as if sweet, sticky and spicy double-fried chicken tenders weren’t enough, I made a side dipping accompaniment using the gochujang and Hellmann’s Real mayonnaise! Like every year, they are a big sponsor of the Open Iftar initiative which has gone viral this year and their products are just great to have on hand. 

Here is the recipe for the tenders of your dreams. 

KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN TENDERS WITH GOCHUJANG MAYONNAISE

INGREDIENTS

2-3 large chicken breasts, cut into strips 
1.5 tsp sea salt *(see notes)
1 tsp white or black pepper 
1.5-2 heaped tsp of minced ginger 
Cornflour or potato starch, for dredging
Oil, for frying
Garnishes: toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onions

Sauce
1tbsp sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
80ml ketchup
80ml honey
3-6 tbsp gochujang ** (see notes)
1tbsp apple cider vinegar, optional *** (see notes)
1 tbsp fish sauce, optional *** (see notes)
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)

Gochujang Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Hellmann’s Real mayonnaise
1 tsp gochujang, to taste 
Squeeze of lime or lemon

NOTES

* I use the sea salt crystals but if you are using table salt, adjust accordingly as table salt is finer so you’ll need less in this recipe. 

** Gochujang is a Korean red pepper paste and it is essential for this recipe. It packs a sweet heat so use an amount that you would be happy with, I found 3.5 tbsp was the perfect amount for me. 

*** You can substitute the apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar, lemon/lime juice, and white vinegar (you’ll need a squeeze of lemon/lime juice if using white vinegar). 

METHOD

  1. Mix the chicken with salt, pepper, and minced ginger, and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. 
  2. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking and let it come to room temperature. Then dredge each piece of chicken in cornflour. 
  3. Heat the oil up to 175 degrees C. You can check to see if the temperature is at the right level by sticking a wooden spoon in; if bubbles form and float up, the oil is ready but if it boils rapidly, the oil may be too hot. 
  4. Put in a few pieces of chicken into the hot oil, making sure to give a quick stir to ensure they aren’t sticking to the bottom, and fry for 5-6 minutes. Remove once they are golden and leave to drain on a kitchen paper towel or wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. 
  5. Let the oil reach 175 degrees C again and fry all the chicken pieces again, this time for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oil and leave to drain. 
  6. In the meantime, make your sauce. Heat up a pan over low-medium heat and add in the sesame oil. Fry the minced garlic until it is fragrant, before adding in the ketchup, gochujang, honey, fish sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chilli flakes, if using. Let it simmer over a low heat for a few minutes and taste. 
  7. For the gochujang mayonnaise, mix the mayonnaise, gochujang and lemon or lime juice together in a small bowl. Leave aside as this will be the dipping accompaniment. 
  8. Place the fried chicken pieces in a deep bowl, pour in the sauce, and toss so that the chicken is evenly coated. 
  9. Sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds and spring onions, and serve immediately with the gochujang mayonnaise. 
  10. If you aren’t planning on serving this immediately, do not pour the sauce on the chicken as it may make the chicken soggy. Just warm up the sauce in a pan and then serve when ready to eat. 
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