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Korean Fried Chicken over Crispy Rice Cake with Quick Kimchi


This recipe takes 3 Korean dishes and combines them in one bite. Bibimbap, a crispy rice bowl, is transformed into a crispy rice cake, on which the sweet-spicy-crunchy Korean fried chicken rests. Add to this a quick version of kimchi, the staple Korean condiment, and you will be transported to Seoul in one single bite.   Submitted by Miriam Gross


Prepare the Rice (the day before eating)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To a medium saucepan or oven-safe dish, add rice, water and salt. Cover and cook until water is completely absorbed and rice is tender, about 50 minutes.
2. Alternatively, cook one cup rice with salt in a rice cooker, per manufacturer’s directions. The amount of water needed may be different based on the specific rice cooker.
3. Remove from oven (or rice cooker) and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight. It is essential to cook the rice the day before to create a crispy cake.

Season the Rice

1. Place the cooked rice in a large bowl, breaking up any large chunks.
2. In a large nonstick pan, heat the canola oil, scallions, garlic and ginger.
3. Sauté until fragrant, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Add scallion mixture to rice, making sure to add the oil from the pan to the rice as well. Using your hands, combine the scallion mixture with the rice, taking care to break up all chunks of rice. You want to completely combine the rice with the scallion mixture.
5. Set aside the nonstick pan to cook the rice cakes.

Form and Cook the Rice Cakes

1. Return the nonstick pan to the stove. Add two tablespoons of canola oil and heat the pan over medium heat.
2. Measure 1/2 cup of the rice. Using your hands, form a patty of the rice mixture. You want the rice cake to be firmly packed. Repeat with remaining rice. Set rice cakes on a plate until ready to cook.
3. Place rice cakes in the heated pan. Cook rice cakes until browned and crispy on one side. You may need to adjust the heat up or down depending on how quickly the cakes are browning.
4. Flip and cook on the remaining side. You may need to add some oil to the pan between batches.
5. Crispy rice cakes are best served immediately. If needed, you can keep them in a 200-degree oven for a short while, up to one hour.

Prepare the Quick Kimchi

1. Place cabbage, garlic and water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover lightly with a lid or a plate.
2. Cook cabbage mixture in the microwave for two minutes. Stir and cook for two more minutes. You want the cabbage to be tender but not fully cooked. Depending on the size of the cabbage, you may need to cook it for another two minutes.
3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix sesame oil, honey, vinegar, ginger, red pepper flakes, and salt.
4. Once the cabbage is cooked, remove from the microwave and remove the lid. Add the carrots (if not using coleslaw mix) and the scallions. Pour the dressing ingredients over the vegetables and mix well.
5. Let the kimchi sit in the fridge for at least one hour before serving, though overnight is better.

Prepare Korean Fried Chicken

1. In a medium bowl, mix cornstarch and baking powder until combined. Set up two cooling racks on two baking sheets and set aside.
2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Dip the chicken in the cornstarch mixture, shaking off excess. Place chicken on one of the cooling racks and set aside for 30 minutes. Discard any remaining cornstarch mixture, but save the bowl to use for the batter.

Prepare the Sauce

1. In a small saucepan, heat two tablespoons canola oil. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about one minute.
2. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, brown sugar, and gochujang to the pot, stirring to combine.
3. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook until thick and syrupy, about eight to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the Chicken

1. Place a large cast iron skillet or straight-sided sauté pan on the stove. Fill with canola or vegetable oil until it reaches two to three inches high. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees (measure using a deep-fry thermometer).
2. Into a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, whisking to combine. Add ice water and vodka, continuing to whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.
3. Dip chicken into the batter, one piece at a time, allowing excess to drip off. Carefully place in the hot oil. Cook in 350 degree oil, about five minutes on each side, until coating is crisp but not browned (the chicken will not be fully cooked). Remove and place on the second cooling rack on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.
4. Raise the heat under the pan so the oil reaches 375 degrees. Working in batches, return the chicken to the pan and fry again, this time until the coating is light brown and very crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Once cooked, return the chicken to the second cooling rack. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.

To Serve

1. Place a crispy rice cake on a plate, topping with some kimchi. Using tongs, dip a piece of the chicken in the sauce, making sure to get sauce on both sides of the chicken.
2. Place chicken on top of the kimchi. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.