Everyone’s heard of a spicy fried chicken biscuit sandwich where the chicken is spicy, and the flaky biscuit helps to balance the heat with buttery goodness. But has anyone heard of a fried chicken spicy biscuit sandwich before? This week, I flipped the script with a biscuit that brings the spice while the chicken is only mildly seasoned with savory spices. Oh, and I also made my first-ever batch of fermented kimchi. That happened too.
First, let’s make some bread to use for sandwiching.
Gochujang buttermilk biscuits
This is my normal buttermilk biscuit recipe that I’ve shared quite a few times on this blog in all sorts of sandwiches but in this version, we fold in some gochujang paste. Gochujang gives the final baked biscuit a bit more interest in the form of color and it does add some spice. Overall, I would rate these biscuits on the warm side of mild though so they’re not going to blow your socks off or cause you to sweat. It’s a balanced heat because there is so much butter and buttermilk in each biscuit to offset.
What is gochujang?
Gochujang is a Korean ingredient in the form of a paste that is usually fairly spicy if you try to eat a spoonful, but when mixed into a recipe you can tone down the spiciness quite a bit. Gochujang is made from chili flakes (typically called gochugaru in Korean), fermented soybean powder, and a few other ingredients which could change depending on who made it. You can buy gochujang at many large grocery stores in the US in small plastic tubs or squeezable tubes.
I have written about and used gochujang a couple of times over the years that I’ve been working on this sandwich blog. The first time was a Korean-style fire chicken sandwich and the second time was a Korean-style fire cheesesteak. Go read those if you want more gochujang content in your life.
Folding gochujang into the layers
You could put gochujang right into the mix when you are making the biscuit dough, but for appearance’s sake, I like to wait until the last 2 or 3 folds of the dough to make sure that the reddish paste has more of a marbled incorporation into the dough.
As I have already written, these biscuits do have some spice, but it’s a fairly pleasant, mild spice that wouldn’t be much hotter than something you’d find at a fast-food restaurant.
Here’s my gochujang buttermilk biscuit recipe. If you’ve made biscuits before, this is the same thing with just a tiny addition during the folding process.
The addition of gochujang adds a kick of heat to a buttery, layered, flaky biscuit recipe for a bit of extra excitement in your next breakfast sandwich. Gochujang is added near the end of the folding process to incorporate it into a marbled appearance throughout the biscuits.Get Recipe
Kimchi is traditional banchan in Korean cuisine, and it typically consists of salted and fermented vegetables. Banchan in Korea are side dishes or accompaniments to a main course or served alongside rice. Most kimchi recipes call for napa cabbage and they are usually combined with our friend gochujang for a spice addition.
This was my first ever attempt at fermented kimchi for this sandwich and it turned out pretty well. I used a Maangchi “Emergency Kimchi” recipe which isn’t super traditional, but I did end up fermenting it for around 5 days and sampling it every day after making it. The flavors of this kimchi are good but the texture is a bit different since it calls for regular cabbage instead of napa cabbage. The goal of the “Emergency” part of the recipe is that it is meant for ingredients that are more available at grocery stores.
Regular cabbage keeps its crunch a lot longer than napa so if I tried this again, I would seek out napa cabbage to bring the texture more in line with the commercial kimchi recipes that I have tried.
If you’re going to buy some kimchi and you’ve never really tried it, I would suggest starting with the Mother in Law brand kimchi which I’ve had in the past and it is a solid brand that should be fairly available in stores or online.
If you’re making homemade kimchi, you are going to need to ferment it a little to get the proper flavor. Fermentation occurs on your kitchen counter or table and it’s easiest to accomplish in a Mason jar. The process of fermentation produces gas so if you are making kimchi in a Mason jar with a lid, you will have to open it occasionally to burp the kimchi or it could pop off the top.
I bought a couple of fermentation lids a few years back that seem to have been replaced or updated to a new product. These lids allow gas to be released while keeping all solids inside the jar and dust or particulates outside of the jar.
Because this company has updated their fermentation kits, the one I own doesn’t seem to be available any longer. But they are now selling a newer version. Here’s their current version of fermentation lids for wide mouth Mason jars. Make sure to note that this is for wide-mouth jars, not the standard-size Mason jar openings.
Maangchi’s emergency kimchi recipe is linked below. It’s not my favorite of all time kimchi, but it does the job and leaves you with a funky and savory kimchi especially if you can let it ferment for a few days.
Not Korean-style fried chicken
I am not a Korean-style chicken expert, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express and I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos. Korean-style fried chicken is extra crunchy on the exterior and it typically will be lighter colored than Southern fried chicken. The below recipe is NOT my attempt at Korean-style chicken, but it’s my tried-and-true buttermilk fried chicken recipe for juicy and slightly spicy chicken thighs.
Some of the photos for my Fried chicken spicy biscuit recipe below are using this fried chicken recipe and some are using my attempt at a Korean-style recipe. Keep scrolling to see more about that and to get the full recipe for this sandwich.
Korean-ish-style fried chicken
Korean-style fried chicken is coated in a light, crispy, crunchy exterior. The color of Korean-style fried chicken is typically golden brown, and it is usually a few shades lighter in color than southern-style fried chicken that you might be most familiar with. This crispiness and lighter color is accomplished by replacing a portion of the gluten or protein in the batter with starch.
Most Korean-style fried chicken recipes that I have seen call for potato starch or some kind of starch in the frying coating or batter. I made a batch of chicken for this blog post with potato starch, and I also made some with corn starch and they both worked practically the same for me.
Potato flour is not the same as potato starch. I have seen some recipes use them in similar ways but they’re very different. If you’ve ever cut potatoes for a french fry recipe and the recipe called for you to soak the potatoes in cold water after slicing, the cloudiness that you see in the water is starch. Potato starch is created by “washing” the starch out of raw potatoes which is then collected and dried into a powder. Then they sell it to you for $7 bucks a pound.
Using potato starch or any starch as a partial amount of the flour mixture that you use to dredge or batter your chicken will allow for a crispier and more golden piece of fried chicken than if you just used straight all-purpose flour. This is because there is no gluten in the starch to turn brown. Regular all-purpose flour contains about 70% starch, while potato/corn starch is almost 100% starch. The rest of the makeup of all-purpose flour is water and protein which is what is causing the browning.
So in my opinion—and a lot of opinions on food sites around the internet—you might be better off always substituting a portion of the flour in your frying recipes with potato or cornstarch to keep the color of your final fried chicken more golden and less dark. There is also the added benefit that starch absorbs less moisture and fat than flour which will result in a crispier crust.
Corn starch works in this recipe as well. I tried it in one batch of chicken thighs that I made recently, and it worked almost interchangeably as well with the potato starch.
Spicy Korean-style chicken biscuit sandwich recipe
I've combined crispy fried Korean-style chicken with a slightly spicy southern-style biscuit for this savory sandwich. Then I added a little kimchi just for more texture and flavor.
Ingredients:Gochujang buttermilk biscuits
- 300 grams self-rising flour (2.5 cups)
- 1 stick of frozen butter (grated)
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- 1 to 2 tablespoons gochujang paste
- 2 tablespoons melted butter (to be painted on top after baking)
- 1⁄2 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 chicken thighs (or similarly sized breast pieces)
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄3 cup potato starch (or cornstarch)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon MSG (optional)
- peanut or vegetable oil for frying (2 or 3 inches deep in your pan or pot)
- gochujang biscuit (from above)
- Korean-style fried chicken thigh (from above)
- 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup kimchi
Gochujang buttermilk biscuits: weigh your flour. Grate frozen butter into the sifted self-rising flour. Stir to combine until the butter is fully coated with flour.
Put the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes. It's important to keep the butter as cold as possible through this process.
Combine buttermilk with the cold flour/butter to bring together as a dough. Stir no more than 15 times. Overworking the dough at this stage could cause your finished biscuits to be tougher. Your dough at the end of 15 stirs will be very shaggy and not smooth at all.
On a floured surface dump out dough and roll with a rolling pin. If you don't have a rolling pin, you can just use your hands. Dust with flour as needed when the dough gets sticky.
Shape the dough into a rough rectangle and then fold it over on itself like you are closing a book. Shape the dough into a rectangle again and then fold the dough over on itself. Repeat this process one more time. This folding process is what creates the layers in the biscuits.
Gochujang: Shape the dough into a rectangle again and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of gochujang on top of the flat dough. This is easier if you have the gochujang that comes in a paste tube.
Spread the gochujang around a little to make sure you have some even coverage.
Once the gochujang has been spread around a little, fold the dough over on top of itself like you're closing another book. Repeat the rectangle shaping and folding process one or two more times and then you should have created enough layers.
Roll or flatten the dough to 3/4 to 1 inch thick/tall.
Cut biscuits into circles or squares and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. When cutting, you do not want to twist the cutter. Twisting while cutting will ruin the layers that you created with folding. Place your cut biscuits next to each other (touching) on the sheet pan. Touching biscuits help each other rise taller.
After cutting biscuits, you can grab any scraps of dough and reroll and re-cut them. There's no need to waste any dough. The last few biscuits might not look as uniform as the first ones, but they will all taste the same.
Bake at 475 degrees F (245 C) for around 15 minutes. Check around the 12-minute mark to make sure they do not brown too much.
When biscuits are done, transfer them from your baking pan onto a cooling rack to stop the bottoms from cooking further.
Paint the melted butter on top of each biscuit.
Korean-style fried chicken thighs: add buttermilk and salt to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Put 2 chicken thighs (or breast pieces) in a zip-top bag or bowl with a lid. Pour buttermilk marinade over the chicken and store in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
Make seasoned flour by combining all-purpose flour, potato or corn starch, salt, garlic powder, and MSG in a bowl or pan that is large enough for a piece of chicken to lay flat in the flour mixture.
Remove one piece of chicken at a time from the buttermilk marinade and dredge in the seasoned flour mixture until thoroughly coated on all sides. Place the fully coated chicken onto a piece of parchment or a sheet pan rack to rest.
Heat 2 inches of peanut or vegetable oil in a skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Fry each piece of chicken for 6 to 7 minutes or until it reaches 165 degrees internal temperature. You'll probably want to fry for 3 minutes on the first side and then flip it to make sure you're getting the level of browning that you want. Continue cooking on the other side.
After frying, place the finished chicken on a cooling rack over paper towels to drain some of the oil away.
Sandwich assembly: slice your gochujang biscuit and toast it if you desire. I almost always choose to toast if the biscuit is more than a few hours old.
Add 1 thigh to each sliced biscuit and top with a healthy amount of kimchi. Complete the sandwich with the top of the biscuit and serve.
Check back next week
Or don’t. Because it will be Christmas day. I will be posting a recap of the year though. I just won’t be posting it on Monday. Maybe Tuesday or Wednesday when people have had time to digest all their candy canes.