Korean-Style Mochiko Chicken
Mochiko chicken is a popular main dish in Hawaiian plate lunches, often served with other local favorites like mac salad and SPAM musubis. This version adds the spicy, sweet, and savory flavors of Korean food for a tasty take on an island classic. This recipe makes six to eight servings.
- 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thirds
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup mochiko* (sweet glutinous rice flour)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably Aloha-brand shoyu*)
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons gochujang sauce (Korean chili paste)
- 2 stalks green onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- one ½-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted, crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 large eggs, beaten
You will also need: oil for frying (I recommend a neutrally-flavored oil with a high smoke point such as peanut or vegetable oil)
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing well into a smooth batter. Add chicken, and toss to coat, then cover and marinate chicken for at least 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. In a large wok or deep fat fryer; heat oil until it shimmers. Fry chicken until golden, and then drain on paper towels.
Note: Mochiko (もち粉) is a type of glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour) that is made from mochigome (もち米/糯米, glutinous short grain Japanese rice). Although there are a number of brands from several different countries, the kind most used in Hawaii for mochiko chicken is Koda Farms’ Mochiko (aka “Blue Star”).
Aloha is the most popular brand of shoyu (soy sauce) in Hawaii. The Aloha company also makes huli huli, teriyaki, and a number of other popular sauces used in Hawaiian cooking. Outside of Hawaii, your best bet for finding Aloha-brand products is probably online (Amazon is always pretty reliable, and affordable). If you can’t find any Aloha in your area, I recommend substituting a milder flavored Chinese brand of soy sauce such as Lee Kum Kee or Pearl River (some Japanese brands like Kikkoman can be very salty and may not work as well in this dish).
Gochujang (Korean: 고추장, Hanja: 苦椒醬) is a mildly spicy and sweet Korean chili paste that can be found in most Asian markets. It features in many Korean dishes such as Bibimbap and Kalbi, and it’s the key component in the Sweet & Spicy Gochujang Sauce that I like to serve alongside my Korean Fried Chicken.
last updated August 17, 2023