Firecracker chicken

The sweetness of Korean gochujang paste and the warm depth of sesame oil combine in this easy marinade.

Firecracker chicken

I always keep a tub of gochujang paste in my kitchen for making daeji bulgogi, and wanted to find a way to use it with chicken pieces. It's naturally sweet, so I matched it with the warmth and depth of sesame oil and a little saltiness from a splash of soy. It worked well, but was missing heat, so chilli oil, with its suggestion of fire, came to the rescue. In its final version, below, I got the balance right. It's not five-alarm hot – not even one-alarm, really – but you can amp it with more chilli oil or even dried chilli flakes if you want to take it in that direction.

The marinade really penetrates into the meat, so it needs time to do its work. Putting it together only takes a couple of minutes, and there's hardly any more to do than let it sit overnight in the fridge and put it in the oven at dinner time.

In the interests of keeping your workload to a minimum, I need to advise you to use either a disposable foil tray or to line a baking sheet with foil, as any drips of marinade will caramelise while cooking and stick tenaciously, so save yourself hours of soaking and scrubbing.

Firecracker chicken


For 2.

4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
3 spring onions (scallions), cut into 3cm (1 inch) pieces
2 tablespoons gochujang paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons chilli oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 clove of garlic, bruised
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the gochujang, soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli oil and brown sugar in a small bowl.

Put the chicken thighs in a resealable plastic bag and pour over the marinade. Drop in the garlic and spring onions. Refrigerate overnight.

Set your oven to 190°C (375°F).

Place the chicken pieces in a foil or foil-lined baking tin. Pour over the marinade from the bag. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in the hot oven for 45 minutes or until just starting to catch. Take them out and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. I usually serve it with sushi rice and some cooling greenery like a cucumber salad.