This is an eating blog not a cooking blog – BUT cooking is a necessary part of eating (like during my HSC I developed intense sweet cravings and took up baking) so occasionally I’ll post up a recipe here. I do like cooking, but I suck at it pretty badly so I only really cook for special occasions where I can dedicate my entire day and all my energy and brainpower into cooking something.
I’ve been hanging with the fam a lot these days because the boy is overseas, and the other night mum and I decided to cook something new together. She was given a bunch of recipes from her friend who is a lady of leisure and took cooking classes in Korea because she wanted to impress her son in law. My mum will soon have a son-in-law so I guess she feels the pressure.
Mum wanted to try 깐풍기 (Korean) / Ganpoonggi (Romanised) / Ganpoongs (Aussie) which is a deep-fried chicken in a sticky garlicky chilli sauce that is apparently a Korean/Chinese fusion dish (thought my Chinese friends aren’t aware of any Chinese equivalent). It’s a guilty pleasure, usually indulged in alongside 짜장면 (Jjajangmyun/fried black bean noodles). The deliciousness stems from the chilli oil and dried chilli infused sauce that is so sticky that it candies onto the batter of the fried chicken, creating a double crunch.
It’s one of those dishes you’d never think of attempting at home just because you’d think that the number of ingredients, processes and potential failure would not make it worth your time when you can go to the local Korean and just buy a big plate for like $15.
But bored housewife and bored future housewife attempted it and TA-DA! It actually turned out well!
I’m surprised because my mum doesn’t exactly have a talent for cooking either … and our powers combined creates the potential for double failure. And to be honest…. it looks better than it tasted. Here’s the recipe (which we didn’t follow that closely…)
2 thigh fillets (or breast if you must)
Soy sauce (1 Tbsp)
Rice wine/Mirin (1 Tbsp)
Lots of frying oil
Cornflower (7 Tbsp)
1 egg white (but keep another egg white spare)
Oil (1 Tbsp)
Spring onion (1/4 of a bunch)
1 green chilli
2 dried chillies
Crushed ginger (1/2 Tbsp)
Crushed garlic (1 Tbsp)
Chilli oil (1 Tbsp)
Chilli powder (1/2 Tbsp)
Soy Sauce, Sugar, Rice Wine, Vinegar (2 Tbsp each)
Chicken stock (4 Tbsp)
1. Cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and marinate with the soy sauce and rice wine in a bowl, and leave to one side.
2. Chuck the batter ingredients into a bowl and mix – the recipe says only one egg white but we ended up with a playdough like batter which resulted in an embarrassing emergency call to my mum’s friend…. but then we added one more egg white and some more cornflour and oil, until we got to consistency we liked – which is basically thin enough to easily coat the chicken but thick enough to stay on. DO NOT ADD WATER… says the recipe – not sure why – maybe because water makes oil spit?
3. Throw the chicken into the batter and make sure all the pieces are well covered.
4. Get your oil in your deep-frying vessel and heat up while you make your sauce. We don’t have a deep fryer so we used this old deep frying pot my mum has. Our family rarely cooks deep fried… mum’s scared of the hot oil. BE CAREFUL WITH THE HOT OIL. Its frickin scary.
5. Put the chilli oil and all the dry ingredients for the sauce into a hot frypan and cook until fragrant. Then add the other liquids and simmer on medium heat until reduced to half. We didn’t have chilli oil or dried chillis… which you would think were a critical omission but the sauce didn’t end up too bad. We also didn’t include the chicken stock because…. we forgot (like I said, bad cooks). You could really do whatever you wanted here – make the sauce as spicy/salty/sweet as you like and you could even throw in some extra veg like chopped capsicum. Next time I make this I think I’ll add more sugar than the recipe recommends because we didn’t quite achieve the sticky toffee-like consistency you get at a restaurant.
6. Once the oil has reached 170degrees (celcius) you can start frying the chicken or if you have no way of measuring temp just sacrifice some “test pieces” of chicken in the oil. Don’t be like us and be stingy with the oil – use enough so that the chicken pieces are fully suspended so they don’t stick to the bottom. Take the pieces out of the oil onto paper towel once they look golden delcious.
7. The recipe didn’t say to to this, but mum insisted that we twice-fry the chicken. So we chucked all the chicken back into the hot oil until it reached a golden-brown colour. Once all the chicken was out, we poured the sauce over it.
Though the chicken looked crunchy – the batter softened a bit. Not sure why – maybe oil wasn’t hot enough or we left it out too long after the first fry. But the cornflour + eggwhite does create a really nice batter that covers the meat well without being too thick and heavy. Without the sauce, it reminded me of Karaage chicken and made me want to use the batter to dip and deep fry everything!
So not quite restaurant quality Kanpoonggi but still delicious and well worth the effort!
* Recipe is adapted from Hansol Cooking Academy’s recipe for 매콤깐풍기