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Korean Fried Chicken Wings

Judy Joo's Kimchi Mac & Cheese + Grilled Beef Short Ribs + KFC Wings
Judy Joo's Kimchi Mac & Cheese + Grilled Beef Short Ribs + KFC WingsNathan Congleton / TODAY
makes about 25 pieces

Chef notes

Korean fried chicken has been the rage around the world as of late. The extra crispy crust makes it so different and addictive compared to other fried chicken. My secret ingredient is matzo meal, a Jewish unleavened flatbread, which keeps this crust super crunchy, and a splash of vodka, which prevents gluten development, making these wings super crispy.


Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
  • 7/8 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
Chicken Wings
  • 4 tablespoons sea salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped ginger
  • 7 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, white part only, roughly chopped
  • tablespoons Korean soybean paste
  • 3 pounds chicken wings, cut into drumettes and wingettes (discard or reserve the tips for another use)
  • 6 tablespoons corn flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 5/8 cup corn flour
  • 5 tablespoons fine matzo meal
  • 5 tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup vodka
To serve
  • Roasted white sesame seeds, to sprinkle
  • Spring onion, finely sliced at an angle
  • Sweet and spicy chili sauce (recipe above)
  • Sweet soy sauce


For the sweet and spicy chili sauce:

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan set over a medium–low heat and whisk well. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Cook for about 4 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside.

For the chicken wings:


Add 1 cup of water to a large saucepan and add the 3 tablespoons sea salt, black peppercorns, lemon zest and juice, ginger, garlic, onion, leeks and soy bean paste. Bring this to a low simmer and stir until the salt and soy bean paste have dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely. When the liquid is cool, add another 3 cups water.


Submerge the chicken wings in the brine, and place into the fridge. After 24 hours, remove from the brine and pat dry. Discard the brine.


To make the pre-coating, in a large bowl mix together the cornflour, the remaining salt and the freshly ground black pepper. Add the chicken and toss well until evenly coated all over. Shake off the excess, and transfer the chicken to a rack. Half fill a heavy-based saucepan with oil and heat to 375°F.

For the batter:

In a large bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together 2 cups water and the vodka. Just before frying, whisk the wet mixture little by little into the dry mixture. You may not need all of the liquid, the consistency should be relatively thin and runny.

Working in batches, use tongs to dip each piece of chicken into the batter, letting any excess batter drip off. Hold the chicken pieces in the hot oil for a few seconds to seal before releasing them, to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Fry until golden crispy brown and the thickest part registers 165°F on a meat thermometer. Keep the cooked chicken warm in a low oven until all batches are done.

To serve:

Sprinkle the chicken with sesame seeds and spring onion and drizzle with sweet soy sauce and sweet chili sauce, or serve on the side.