Korean Food is hot, and I don't just mean spicy!
These days Korean food is coming into it's own as a major player in the Asian food arena. It's not only pretty new to most Americans but also strangely familiar. One of the reasons for this is that Koreans eat a lot of meat. Unlike Japan which has a strong association with the sea, Korea has a strong agricultural base in animal husbandry which finds root in it's cuisine as well.
Also the most well known Korean foods in this country are well...pretty all American. Foods like fried chicken, beef BBQ, cabbage dishes, and pickled dishes. All slightly off from the typical American versions but none the less familiar. I mean no one would confuse spicy Kim Chee with Spicy hot pickles, but they are somewhat akin. Korean Fried chicken is double fried for crunch and then sauced with spicy gochujang sauce but they are similar in many ways to our everyday interchange with the Buffalo chicken wing.
So let's talk fried rice. I mean it's sometimes amazing and it's sometimes kinda dull. I mean your local chinese place either hits it out of the park on this or like most in my experience hits it into the rough. Even my favorite fried rices like the ones you get at Japanese Steak houses are good but somehow need a little kick from added those sauces they give you on the side. Why? Because I find fried rice is often just dry.
Now I have had some amazingly good homemade fried rice for example at my friend George's house. But he's Chinese and his dad was a chef so if better be good. But in general I am more of a risotto guy than a fried rice guy. I like succulent saucy gooey yummy stuff. So that's why this fried rice is so darn good. It's the secret Korean Sauce recipe that makes it.
This is a great way to use up leftover chinese chicken or even buy frozen General Tso's chicken in a bag from the store and cook and chop it up. I'll give you a recipe for my homemade version. You could also use just plain cooked chicken thighs chopped up but it's not as good. In any event youll need about a pound of chicken.
So give this a try at home. Serve it up with some cucumber sesame salad and some Kim Chee on the side.
Korean Chicken Fried Rice:
Make 5 cups cooked white rice and let sit in the fridge for a day
Forrest's Wok Fried Chicken and Asian Sauce:
(or use General Tso's either leftovers or from the grocery prepared as on package and cooled and chopped, or just cooked chopped chicken)
1 pound boneless chicken thighs cut up into 1/2 inch pieces
Dust the chicken pieces in the cornstarch and fry till almost done remove from wok and hold on the side.
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoons peanut, vegetable, or canola oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (about one 1-inch piece)
2 teaspoons minced scallion bottoms (about 1 scallion), plus 6 to 8 scallions, white parts only, cut into 1-inch lengths
8 small dried red Chinese or Arbol chilies (see note above)
For the Sauce:
Combine soy sauce, wine, vinegar, chicken stock, sugar, sesame seed oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir with a fork until cornstarch is dissolved and no lumps remain. Set aside. Combine oil, garlic, ginger, minced scallions, and red chilies in a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add in cornstarch mixture and cook till thick then add the chicken and coat stir fry till sticky and done. Hold on the side in a bowl and cool, then rough chop the chicken into small pieces
Wipe out the wok and get it very hot to fry the rice
To make the Fried Rice:
4 Tablespoons of butter to the wok
2 Tablespoons of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of minced ginger
Add 3/4 cup plus extra if desired Red Korean Super Sauce
1/2 pound Brocolli rough chopped
1 medium onion finely diced
1/2 cup chopped Scallions (2 Tablespoon reserved for garnish)
2 Thai chilis thinly sliced
Add two tablespoons butter, melt
Cook till garlic blooms about 1 minute
Add ginger then add onion and cook stiring constantly till soft
Add the rest of the butter then the rice and stir till the rice is coated with the butter and veggies
Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil
Let rice cook getting crusty and golden and then stir to keep it from sticking
Repeat this till rice is crunchy and veggies soft
Add the chicken
Add the Korean Sauce
Stir fry till all combined and heated through
Add more sauce if too dry for your taste
Red Korean Super Sauce (This stuff is no joke)
It stays good for months in the fridge
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups Mirin
1/2 cup gochujong
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup pureed ginger
1/8 cup garlic puree
Puree all this together in a blender then bring to simmer in a pot till sugar is melted
Store in an airtight container.