RECIPE: Street Food Korean Firecracker Sesame Chicken
Street food is so much fun, whether you frequent food trucks or aimlessly walk around markets state-side or overseas, these dishes are simple, small in size yet packed with flavor. Making a dish like this for your family is a great option for a weeknight. Just put a pot of rice in the rice cooker, and fry up your chicken and keep it warm in the oven. The sauce is super fast. If you don't have time to steam broccoli, but a steambale bag of frozen vegetables and let the microwave do the work. It all comes together in the sauce in a matter of minutes, and it's eaten that fast, too.
The star of this dish and the new favorite thing in our pantry is gochujang. It has slowly taken the place of sriracha at our house, but the two are used very differently. This magical pepper paste is fermented with soybeans and rice, giving our dishes more umami with the spicy kick you're looking for versus just a flat heat you get from a typical hot sauce.
What is umami? It's that depth of flavor and full mouthfeel you get when you eat something. It's flavor. It's deep, round, full FLAVOR. Sometimes you know where that flavor is coming from in your dish. Sometimes you don't- it's just a magical, powerful deep flavor symphony.
But umami is what you want when you eat something.
Otherwise, what is the point?
(Also see below for some of my homage to umami products I designed at the shop.)
SO this dish has it all, ease, spice, fun, a vegetable and UMAMI, baby.
Show off your foodie-ness and love of umami with this cool shirt or apron:
Street Food Korean Firecracker Sesame Chicken
Canola oil for frying
2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds
2 cups of broccoli florets
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
3 scallions sliced, white parts set-aside apart from the green
1/2 cup of gochujang
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1/2 cup of cornstarch
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup of flour
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup of vodka
2 pounds of chicken breasts, trimmed and chopped into large, bite-size pieces
Put a wire rack on a baking sheet that's lined with paper towels in the oven. Heat your oven to a very low warm temperature, like 175˚.
Heat a very large pan with canola oil. Oil should be about 2 1/2" deep. I fry the chicken first and let it stay warm in the pan because the rest goes rather quickly. Also while you're frying your chicken, heat up some water and put a steam basket over it to crisp-steam your broccoli for about five minutes. Once ready, rinse quickly in cold water and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the flour, salt, baking powder and the pepper. Add the vodka with 1/2 cup of cold water and whisk until smooth. Add the chicken and toss to coat well.
Heat up your oil and add the coated chicken to the oil dripping off the excess as you add them to the pan, and work in batches. Fry on all sides until puffy and crispy brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer browned chicken to the rack in the baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven. Keep working in batches and keep adding your fried chicken to the oven pan. Once the chicken is fried up, quickly make the sauce.
In a large pan heat the sesame oil and add the ginger, the garlic and the white parts of the scallions. Cook until tender (about three minutes). Whisk in the gochujang and the brown sugar and bring to a simmer, but it will be very thick. Remove from heat add 1 cup of water and whisk until smooth. It will bubble up and be syrupy. Toss in the fried chicken and the broccoli to coat. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions. Serve with cooked white rice.
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