If you like spicy food but you've never had gochujang, I suggest you get to the nearest Korean market post-haste and pick up a tub. It's basically a type of miso paste made spicy with the addition of red pepper powder (ETA: oops, I was wrong, apparently it uses rice flour, not soybeans. Upon further reading, some brands also add wheat, so be sure to read the ingredients if you avoid gluten). It seemed only natural to give it a try on hot wings, instead of using Tabasco sauce. I always bake my wings instead of deep-frying, as I think the skin gets just as crispy in a hot oven. Deep frying isn't really necessary unless you bread the wings, which, to me, defeats the whole purpose. The whole point in eating wings is that they're encased in crispy chicken skin, why the need to stick on some kind of coating? Plus, it cuts back on the calories quite a bit.
I've made these before in a regular roasting pan, and they tend to sit in their own juices, thus taking longer and not getting as crispy. This time I used a broiler pan which allowed all the liquid to drain. I liked the results more, but not as much sauce adhered. This cuts back on the calories and carbs (there are some carbs in the gochujang due to the soybean paste) but my husband missed the extra sauce. So if you do it this way, I might double the sauce recipe, reduce about half of it in a small saucepan, and serve it on the side.
Additionally, when they serve fried chicken in Korea, the traditional accompaniment is spicy pickled radish. I usually buy some radish kimchi to serve on the side, but the market was out, so I just made a quick marinated cucumber salad with Korean red pepper powder.
CRISPY GOCHUJANG HOT WINGS
Serves 2 as an entree or 4 as an appetizer
- 3 Tbs gochujang, or to taste
- 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
- 3 Tbs tamari or soy sauce
- 1.5 Tbs rice vinegar (can substitute cider vinegar)
- 1 Tbs dark sesame oil
- 3 packets stevia (Sweetleaf brand) or Splenda or 2 Tbs honey
- 1 lb chicken wings, tips removed and separated at the joint (I used a bag of thawed frozen drummettes)
- Korean hot pickled radish or radish kimchi, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Cover a broiler pan with foil, and use a steak knife to cut slits through the foil and broiler pan (like this).
- Set the wings on the foil and bake for 30 minutes. Turn, then bake for 30 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, while wings are baking, combine the garlic, ginger, tamari or soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sweetener. Add the gochujang one tablespoon at a time, tasting with each addition, until it gets to your desired level of spiciness (3 Tbs is right for me).
- Brush the wings with the sauce (or pour the sauce over the wings and use a basting brush to spread it around). Bake for 15 minutes longer. If desired, run it under the broiler at the end for a couple minutes to get extra crispy.
- Serve with pickled radish on the side.