Korean-Style Sweet and Spicy Chicken “Wings”
These sweet and spicy, Korean chicken “wings” are my absolute favorite “wings.” They are incredibly crispy. They taste so decadent and fried; but they are baked and only a tiny bit of oil is used. And the flavors are out of this world!
These “wings” are fairly easy to make. And you can adjust the sweetness by reducing or increasing the amount of honey/agave/sugar used. I’m making both crispy baked buffalo “wings” and these spicy Korean “wings” for Super Bowl Sunday. Except for the sauce/glaze that covers the chicken, the process of making them is virtually the same: double the flavor for about the same amount of effort. So make both to suit different tastes!
Korean-Style Sweet and Spicy Chicken “Wings” Recipe
Makes about 10-12 small drumsticks
2 lbs skinless chicken drumsticks
2 TB “buttermilk” (2TB almond milk + 1 tsp lemon juice)
1 TB Mirin
2 TB hot sauce
3 TB rice flour
3 TB tapioca starch
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 TB honey/agave/sugar
1 1/2 TB rice vinegar (can substitute with balsamic vinegar)
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 large clove garlic, grated
pea-sized ginger, grated (basically, very little)
more toasted sesame seeds for garnish
scallions, chopped for garnish
- In a ziploc plastic bag, place chicken drumsticks. Stir together “buttermilk,” 2 TB hot sauce, 1 TB mirin. Pour the “buttermilk” mixture into the ziploc. Marinate the chicken for up to an hour.
- In a sauce pot, stir together gochujang, ketchup, honey/agave/sugar, vinegar, toasted sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, garlic, and ginger. Heat the contents under medium heat. Once it starts bubbling/boiling, lower the heat to simmer. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Add water as necessary to maintain a glaze-like consistency. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large plate, mix together brown rice flour, tapioca starch, cayenne, and salt. Toss chicken drumsticks in the flour mixture to coat well.
- Heat a pan on medium-high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with canola oil (just 1-2 tsp should do). Once heated, place the coated drumsticks on the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Work in batches if necessary. Sear the chicken on all sides until golden. This should only take about a minute or two. Once golden, place the drumsticks on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 30-35 minutes (periodically flip the chicken for even cooking/crispness*), until the chicken is cooked through.
- Reserve 2-3 TB of sauce from step 2 for dipping if desired. Toss the drumsticks in the prepared sauce from step 2 to coat in a large bowl. Alternatively, a basting brush can be used. Place the drumsticks back on the baking sheet and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes**.
- Garnish with additional toasted sesame seed and chopped scallions. Serve while hot with reserved sweet and spicy sauce.
*If you have a baking rack, use it (on top of the baking sheet to catch any drippings). This will allow the heat to aerate for even cooking without having to flip the drumsticks.
**If you are pressed for time, you can skip this step; however, this step makes the chicken crispier. In Korean cooking, fried foods are often fried twice for extra crispiness. This twice baking is akin to that twice-frying process.