Updated: Jun 11
In My Thursday Thing back on July 26, I wrote about the chefs that inspired me growing up and molded me into the cook I am today. But when it comes to figuring out what I'm going to cook on a daily basis, I seek inspiration from many different sources in many different venues. For example, recently, while scrolling Instagram, I came across a post by chef Judy Joo @judyjoochef of an intoxicating looking Korean Fried Chicken and Waffles from the weekend brunch menu at her restaurant. Since I live in North Carolina, I'm no stranger to chicken and waffles, so I decided to take a shot at my own version of the recipe. And the results were nothing short of spectacular, as posted on my Instagram feed. So good in fact I got props from Chef Judy herself!
Here's the yummy recipe, which as usual, includes some help from recipes I found on Pinterest.
Prepare your Korean hot sauce first. Follow the sauce part of this recipe. Then, in a small saucepan, melt 2 tbsp. of butter over low heat. Add the prepared sauce and stir. Keep the sauce on the lowest burner setting to keep it warm. Adding the butter thins the sauce enough to make it more pourable and to better coat the chicken. This is a traditional approach to making buffalo wing sauce.
Since this is a fusion with North Carolina, of course I made buttermilk waffles. Just follow your favorite buttermilk waffle recipe (here's mine), but add in a handful of chopped scallions (also known as green onions) and a 1/2 tsp of grated ginger. This gives the waffle a savory, Asian taste. To really kick it up, try adding a drizzle of sesame oil as well. When the waffles are done, place them on a rack on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree oven.
Korean Fried Chicken
This chicken gets its extra crunch from a double coating of a potato starch and flour dredge.
First, cut boneless chicken breasts into strips about 4" long and 1" thick. Plan on 2-3 strips (about 4 ounces) per person. Place in a plastic bag or container, cover with buttermilk and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. This is a very traditional way of making fried chicken here in the south.
Then, after your sauce is done and waffles are keeping warm in the oven, start preparing the chicken. Assemble your dredging (battering) stations first. In one large bowl, stir together 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup of potato starch, 2 tbsp. of Gochujaru (a Korean chili powder), and 1 tbsp. each of garlic powder, onion powder and salt. In a second large bowl, place 2 cups of buttermilk and 1 tbsp. of Gochujaru.
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade, and a few pieces at a time, drop them into the flour-potato starch mixture, then into the buttermilk, and then back into the flour-potato starch mixture. Heat a deep dryer or a deep sauce pan filled only 1/3 high with canola or vegetable oil to 350 degrees.
Fry 3-4 pieces at a time, until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes, then drain on paper towel to remove excess oil. Cut slightly into one to make sure they are cooked through, with no pink color in the middle.
Now plate it up because it's time to eat! Place a waffle on a plate and stack the chicken on top. Drizzle the sauce all over the chicken and around the waffle. The hotter you like it, the more sauce you should use. Sprinkle with extra slices of scallion and thinly sliced jalapeno or other chili peppers for a little extra heat, and for a beautiful looking dish.
In case you are curious, here's the side-by-side of Chef Judy's dish and my final dish. I think I did pretty good for myself!
Here's a list of a few other places you can look to find your own inspiration, beyond my site of course!
Restaurants (especially when on vacation internationally or in other regions of the US)
Here are just a few of my favorites to watch for their diversity of unique foods and dishes.
I follow lots of people who post some amazing food pics. Here are a few of my favorite male celebrities I follow on Instagram.
Where do you look for inspiration? I'd love to hear so comment on the post!