When I lived in South Korea in the noughties, fried chicken was just starting to become popular. Now, you see Korean fried chicken everywhere - including in Dublin. It has exploded in popularity.
My first experience with Korean fried chicken was many years ago, in a newly opened quick-service restaurant.
My Korean neighbourhood wasn't in the nicest part of town - there were lots of apartment buildings, a convenience shop, a pizza restaurant and two grocery stores. There were a few other restaurants, which mainly specialised in Korean barbecue.
When the fried chicken restaurant opened, excitement rippled through the whole neighbourhood, but especially through the North American population. Fried chicken was something we thought we knew.
That said, eating Korean-style fried chicken for the first time was mind-blowing. The chicken was juicy; the skin extra-crispy. You had the option of a few different flavourings and the chicken was served with peppery white chunks of fresh radish (the perfect complement). I was hooked.
My favourite type of fried chicken was coated in a sweet and spicy sauce, mainly comprised of Korean fermented chilli pasta called gochujang.
You can get gochujang in most Asian supermarkets and, now, even in some of the larger supermarkets around the country. It is spicy, but also slightly sweet and very deeply flavoured.
It's difficult to match or replace gochujang with another type of chilli paste; if you can't find it, I would recommend a buffalo-style sauce instead, such as Frank's Red Hot.
In western countries, it's traditional to have fried chicken with chips or French fries, but my favourite side dish is actually sticky rice, sprinkled with some Irish seaweed flakes and toasted sesame seeds. Honestly, though, this chicken doesn't need a starch - you could eat it with a fresh salad and that in itself is a great meal.
I tend to combine methods for my fried chicken - I love the flavour of a buttermilk brine, which isn't the norm for Korean fried chicken. So my chicken is brined in buttermilk and then coated in a Korean-style sauce.
1 whole large chicken, cut into portions (ask your butcher to do this) OR two packs of skinless, boneless chicken thighs (boneless is less flavourful but cooks more quickly)
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chilli powder
200g plain flour
100g cornflour or rice flour
1L vegetable oil, for frying
For the sauce:
60g gochujang chilli paste (or another chilli sauce)
60ml maple syrup
Toasted sesame seeds