Lucia Cho's Pistachio Fried Chicken

At the conference I met Lucia Cho, whose family makes ceramics for restaurants, including Corey Lee's upcoming restaurant Benu in San Francisco. This dish is part of a dinner she made for me, and it combines traditional Korean flavours with Western cooking techniques. A deep-fat-frying thermometer is very helpful in determining oil temperature.



Chicken Rolls:

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup chopped kimchi
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil

Beer Batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup beer
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Flour for dredging
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • Mint, coriander and slivered perilla leaves


Combine Gochujang Sauce and stock in a skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, lower heat to medium and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until flavours have combined. Reserve.

Place chicken thighs between two pieces of parchment paper and use a mallet to pound into a thin layer. Season with salt and sprinkle lightly with cornstarch. Combine kimchi and sesame oil. Place a line of kimchi down the middle of chicken, roll tightly to enclose and secure with a toothpick or wooden skewer. Repeat with remaining rolls. Chill for one hour.

Whisk together flour, beer and salt to make batter. Season with pepper and reserve.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Heat about 4 inches of oil in a wok or deep pot over medium-high heat to 325F. Working in batches, dip rolls lightly in flour, then beer batter, and fry for five to six minutes, turning if needed, until golden brown. Place chicken on a rack on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rolls.

Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through. Cool for five minutes. Remove toothpicks.

Spoon some sauce onto four plates, cut rolls into half-inch slices and fan out on top. Drizzle with a little more sauce. Garnish with pistachios and herbs. Serves 4