Korean Fried Chicken with Macadamias

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I’ve been a fried chicken lover from way back, and this is by far my favourite fried chicken recipe. Both my daughters have left home now, but whenever they return to the farm for a visit, they both request I make Korean fried chicken for them. Korean fried chicken is crispy, crunchy, sweet, spicy and tangy all at the same time – a very different type of KFC! In this recipe I have used chopped macadamias instead of the traditional peanuts. It may seem like there are a lot of ingredients and steps, but it’s well worth the time and effort.

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Ingredients

2 Tbsp oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 cup rice syrup or corn syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
12 three joint chicken wings, washed and drained
2/3 cup potato starch or cornflour
4 cups canola or vegetable oil for deep frying
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/3 cup chopped dry roasted macadamias

Method
1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large non stick pan or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and stir with a wooden spoon until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

2. Add soy sauce, rice/corn syrup and vinegar. Stir to combine and bring to the boil. Let it bubble for a minute then add brown sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar and remove from heat and set aside.

3. In small bowl combine the ginger, salt and ground pepper and set aside.
4. Cut the tip of each chicken wing, then chop in half; placing the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl to give 24 chicken wing pieces.

5. Add the ginger, salt and pepper mix and combine to coat all of the chicken pieces.

6. Place the potato starch or corn flour in a shallow bowl and one by one, dip 12 chicken pieces in to coat, pressing the wing into the powder to ensure it is tightly coated. Set aside. 

7. Heat 4 cups of oil in a large deep frying pan or wok (mine is 30cm diameter x 9cm deep) on high heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Test whether the oil is hot enough by dipping a test wing into the oil. If the oil bubbles, it is ready. Using tongs, carefully slide the first 12 chicken pieces into the hot oil one by one.

8. Cook for 12-14 minutes until they are a light golden colour. All the pieces need to be immersed in the oil, so carefully turn the pieces a few times to make sure all sides get cooked through.

9. While these chicken pieces are cooking, repeat step 6 to coat the remaining chicken. After 12-14 minutes, remove cooked chicken pieces from hot oil and place on paper towels to drain and rest.

10. Leaving the hot oil on the stove, using tongs carefully slide the second batch of 12 chicken pieces into the hot oil one by one and cook repeating step 8.

11. Leaving the oil on the heat, place the first 12 chicken pieces back in the hot oil again and cook, turning a few times until they are golden brown, and feel very crunchy through the tongs (about 10–12 minutes). Remove and place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces until all the pieces have been cooked twice in the hot oil.

12. Reheat the sauce until it bubbles. Remove the pan from the heat and add the hot chicken pieces and mix well until all the chicken is coated in the sauce mixture. Transfer chicken to a large platter.

13. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and chopped dry roasted macadamias over the chicken and serve immediately. Have plenty of serviettes at the ready! In the unlikely event there are any leftovers, this chicken will remain crispy and crunchy the next day.

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