From the chef
"Korean" plus "fried" plus "chicken" sets my expectations for greatness. Especially lately, when my hot sauce of the moment is Gochujang. I can clearly see an evolution in my palette having first embraced Sriracha, then sambal, and now this richer, spicier version that is deepened with a funky fermented bean paste. I came home with chicken wings the other day despite my historical eye rolling when my dad did the same, yelling "Maru! I picked up dinner!" The difference here is that these would be an appetizer, and at least one vegetable, and likely several, would also grace the plate.
I wanted something super crisp that would be glazed with a punch of flavor and enough heat to make you keep eating, but not so much that your lips felt like Blinky the Clown. So I settled on a mixture of corn starch and pulverized rice crispies. The sauce would be Gochujang blended with something sweet, sesame and maybe even citrus. And there would be fresh green in the form of cilantro and green onion.
I think I succeeded. The first batch came out a tad dark, even though they still tasted great. But the cooler oil in the second batch allowed for nice browning, and the coating had a serious crunch -- even several hours later when I snuck a couple more, cold, from the fridge.
Makes 20 pieces
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups chickpea flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- Sumac, for dusting
- 2/3 cup yogurt (thin -- not Greek style)
- 1 clove garlic, small and chopped fine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mint, chopped fine
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Place the water in a pot with the salt and bring to a boil. Add the cumin to the chickpea flour. Pour into the water and whisk vigorously until all of the water is absorbed and there are no lumps, about 2-3 minutes. You are looking for the consistency of polenta. Take the pot off the heat. There should be plenty of salt but now is the time to taste and make sure. These fries are all about the salt.
- Line a baking sheet with a silpat or wax paper. Pour the chickpea mixture onto the baking sheet and spread evenly. Set aside to firm for about 30 minutes.
- After thirty minutes, take a knife and gently cut the mixture into rectangular pieces. Use your judgement as to the size.
- Add the vegetable oil to a deep pan. Turn the heat to medium high. Once the oil is hot enough (you will get a nice sizzle) add some fries (about 8 at a time) and cook until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Take them out and place on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with sumac. Transfer to dish and serve immediately.
- Combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Pour yourself a glass of Uproot and Enjoy!