Ultimate Weeknight Meal: Korean Fried Chicken & Champagne

My daughter loves all things Korea. She spent two weeks in Korea with her best friend last summer, she is learning to speak Korean in college and hopes to get a job in international business working in Korea after she graduates. The week before she came home for spring break I was sick in bed with the flu and bronchitis all week. Yuck! During my sick week I watched a few cooking shows that I do not typically watch. One such show featured a young Korean chef named Julie Joo who was demonstrating an easy way to prepare Korean fried chicken. I know from my daughter’s Korean experience that Koreans love fried chicken and it ain’t no KFC! So while she was home for spring break we decided to attempt to make Julie Joo’s Ultimate Korean Fried Chicken. My daughter does not cook much but as she is getting older her interest in the kitchen is increasing. Additionally, she loves to shop at the large Korean supermarket across town so we headed over there to find a few key ingredients for the fried chicken. One important point, most of the ingredients to this recipe I already had in my kitchen, others I could find at my local grocer, so don’t be afraid to branch out and make something from an unfamiliar cuisine!

Veuve Clicquot

As an oenophile the first wine pairing that pops into my head is of course Champagne! Fried chicken and champagne on a weeknight? Who cares that I am still heavily medicated and supposed to avoid alcohol, sign me up!

Veuve Clicquot2Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne: This wine poured a soft gold into the glass and opened with an inviting aroma of minerals, orchard fruit, brioche and floral notes. On the palate this Champagne delivered clean flavors of honey suckle, marzipan, crumbled tart filled w with apples, pears and peaches all layed on top of bright minerality. It had great structure with round acidity that lingered on the palate, leaving the mouth-watering. This Cuvee was crafted from grapes from 50 to 60 different crus, growing areas, and was comprised of 50-55% Pinot Noir to ensure quality house structure, 15 to 20% Pinot Meunier for structure and 28 to 33% Chardonnay to complete its elegance and sophistication for perfect balance. This Champagne is widely distributed and has an average SRP of $40. Ratings: 92 pts Wine Spectator, 90 pts Wine Enthusiast.

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The Champagne was an outstanding pairing with the Ultimate Korean Fried Chicken. The recipe called for quite a bit of gochugaru (Korean chili paste), which was not too spicy but added a nice kick to the batter. Furthermore, the Korean BBQ sauce that was sweet but also contained gochugaru, add in the kimchi and you have a meal with round spices; therefore, we balanced the meal by adding Asian pears, pickled radishes and vegetable kimbab as sides. The acidity in the Champagne paired beautifully with the spice, mellowing it out some while blending beautifully with the sweet nature of the Korean pears. I really cannot image a more perfect wine pairing with this dish than Champagne and the Veuve Clicquot was ideal. My daughter said Koreans like to drink Coke or Pepsi with their fried chicken so while my husband and I enjoyed our Champagne my teens enjoyed their sodas.

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Veuve Clicquot logo

 

From the Veuve Clicquot web site:

Since its foundation in 1772, the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin House has remained true to its motto: “only one quality, the finest.” Its history carries the mark of an exceptional woman: Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, Madame Veuve Clicquot. This young widow of 27 years old was left devastated by the ultimate death of her husband, but courageously took up the helm of the family business. She was uncompromising on quality, and set off to conquer the world, transmitting her taste for excellence and innovation to her successors.

The anchor, the Christian symbol for hope and rigor, was chosen in 1798 by Philippe Clicquot, the founder of the house, as the cork brand, the only distinguishing mark in the era before labels. As a symbol of hope, the anchor was a perfect emblem for a young entrepreneur with faith in the prosperity of his newly founded business. Madame Clicquot continued to use the same cork brand when she took over the business in 1805. In keeping the anchor emblem throughout the centuries, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin remains faithful to the signs and symbols of its roots.

Veuve Clicquot vineyards

At Veuve Clicquot, the vine is thought to be the nourishing mother and is therefore the focus of everyone’s attention. Throughout the seasons, it receives the care necessary to ensure that it develops fully with a view to revealing the best of itself: grapes of exceptional quality.

Veuve Clicquot vineyards2

Veuve Clicquot has a very stylish web site that offers great insight into the winery as well as their extensive portfolio of Champagnes. I encourage you to visit the site to learn more about them.

My Song Selection: Since this article is about my daughter’s love for Korean food and culture I told her she could pair the song. She was so excited! Please keep in mind she is 19; the age difference is relevant in this song selection. However, the song has style and funk so it fits well with the food and wine pairing. Take a moment to watch and listen to one of the most successful K-Pop bands in the world! Though it is in Korean it is surprisingly American in style and sound.

Make your own Ultimate Korean fried chicken and pair it with the delicious Veuve Clicquot Champagne and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!

7 comments

  1. I am a big fan of the Veuve even though the wine snobs like to pan it a bit (mostly because it is rather popular with the Gen-X crowd). As for your daughter’s Korean passion–if you are ever in Philly, we will do a “real” Korean barbeque! One last thing: you said you used gochugaru, but called it red pepper paste. I think gochugaru is the red pepper flakes and gochujang is the red pepper paste (learned the hard way, I am afraid).

    • I did not realize Veuve was a Gen-X champ. As a non-Champagne connoisseur I really enjoyed it. At the Korean grocer in our town they actually sell gochugaru in a paste and in ground flakes; the recipe actually called for both. Unfortunately they only sell it a large quantity so I have more than I can ever use. Want some? Cheers!

      • Everything when it comes to Korean food is done in large quantities! We have enough gogchujang to kill a whole herd of cats (and it likely would). When my wife (who is 100% Korean, btw) makes Korean food (usually when friends come over), there is so much left over we eat it for a good two weeks straight. She says her mother taught her the absolute worst sin in life is to run out of food when people come over….

    • Give it a try.The recipe I used was straight forward and turned out good. The batter did have a spice to it so if you prefer a more traditional “southern” style I suggest you take to Google or Pinterest for different recipes. Please share your results with me. Cheers!

  2. I would so make this Korean Chicken. I love trying new foods. I’ll have to see if any of our stores have the ingredients, as we don’t have an Asian market in our small town. I’m sorry you had the flu, I just had a bout with it not too long ago, and it was the first time in 15 years I’d had it! Nasty strain, too and the cough was hard to kick. Glad you are all better now too!

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