Buldak is a Korean fried chicken dish known for its extreme heat. Fiery heat, in fact, from the combination of fresh chilies, chili flakes and chili paste (gochujang).
Just look at the color and you know that the chicken will set your mouth on fire. But the thing about making this dish at home is that you can control the amount of heat by using less chilies (or chili paste or flakes) to suit your level of tolerance for spiciness.
What I do not recommend “less” of is the marinating time. The chicken just won’t get the depth of flavor and coloring without sitting overnight in the fridge in the soy and spice marinade.
And you can adjust the heat level in two ways — by using less chilies in the marinade or in the sauce. Yes, it isn’t just in the marinade that heat is added to the chicken. There are chilies in the sauce as well. And the fried chicken isn’t just tossed in the sauce before serving.
The chicken is simmered in the sauce after frying. So, not only has the chicken soaked up the heat of the chilies in the marinade, it absorbs the heat of the chilies in the sauce as well. So, adjust to suit your taste.
Buldak: Korean “Fire” Fried Chicken
- 8 chicken thighs bone-in
For the marinade
For the sauce
To complete the dish
- cooking oil for deep frying
- sliced scallions to garnish
- Rinse the chicken thighs and pat dry. Place in a bowl.
- Add the soy sauce, pepper, honey, rice wine, sliced scallion and sesame seed oil. Mix well.
- Cover and marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
- In a blender or food processor, finely chop all the ingredients for the sauce. Taste, adjust the seasonings according to your preferences and set aside.
- Lift the chicken thighs from the marinade.
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan or wok. Fry the chicken thighs until browned and cooked through.
- Pour off the oil.
- Pour in the sauce and allow to caramelize a bit (DO NOT ALLOW TO BURN!).
- Add the chicken thighs and cook over high heat, turning often, until the sauce thickens and coats the chicken thighs.
- Arrange the chicken on a serving plate. Sprinkle with finely snipped scallions (or toasted sesame seeds) and serve hot.
If you cooked this dish (or made this drink) and you want to share your masterpiece, please use your own photos and write the cooking steps in your own words.