Monday, March 18, 2013

Korean BBQ Boneless Chicken Bites!

This is a simple and wonderful recipe showcasing the rich color and flavor of hot pepper paste.  Also known as Gochujang, as it is Korean in origin, this paste is a mainstay in it's cuisine and culture.  Making an appearance in Korea around the late 18th century, after the Europeans introduced chili peppers by way of Japan, hot pepper paste was made in many homes.  The process included powdering the peppers and mixing them with glutinous rice or similar starches, as well as fermented soybeans and salt.  The mixture was then aged in earthen pots in the sunlight to achieve it's savory and deep flavor profile.  Since it's commercialization around the 1970's, Gochujang is hardly made by individuals anymore.  The paste can be  used any way from marinating meats to building flavors for soups and sauces.  The color is a brilliant, almost unbelievable hue that is rich in umami notes and dense heat flavor, that may be toned down or adjusted to fit your personal palate, by using ingredients with some sweetness, like agave nectar, brown sugar, corn or cane syrup.  This recipe uses boneless chicken breast chunks, but feel free to use chicken thigh meat, bone-in whole legs or other chicken pieces and even pork.  I introduced this recipe to my family as appetizers for the SuperBowl and also paired them with sauteed broccoli slaw with snow peas, spiked with garlic, fish sauce and seasoned rice vinegar, for a well balanced and amazing meal. This meal went over well with the beer for the sports fans, and appealed to the crowd with a moderate heat index.  You will definitely serve this recipe again, once you try it!
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken or pork meat, cut into about 1 inch pieces
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. potato starch
1/4 c. rice flour
oil for frying
For sauce:
3 cloves pressed or finely minced
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1/3 c. hot pepper paste
1/2 c. good quality ketchup
1/2 c. corn syrup
In a large bowl, combine chicken, egg, salt, pepper, potato starch and rice flour.  With rubber spatula or hands, mix until well and evenly coated.  Set aside while oil heats.
Bring oil to 375* and fry chicken in small batches, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes per batch, drain on paper towels, keeping warm in oven until completion.
Once chicken is finished, drizzle pan over medium high heat with olive oil.
Once hot, add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add fish sauce, paste, ketchup and corn syrup.
Cook, stirring constantly for about 1 more minute and add chicken pieces tossing and folding with a rubber spatula  to coat.
Transfer to serving dish.  Garnish with sesame seeds if desired or fresh herbs. Pair with rice, sauteed veggies or as is for appetizers.
Serves 6 to 8.

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