I remember the first time I heard about chicken and waffles I thought the idea was kind of gross. I could not for the life of my picture a greasy piece of fried chicken plopped down on my childhood Eggo waffles smothered in sweet syrup. But that’s before I had the real deal chicken & waffles from Screen Door in Portland. A glorious soft-on-the-inside- crunchy-on-the-outside waffle piled high with juicy crisp fried chicken with syrup on the side. I was hooked. This salty, sweet soul-food tradition from the Southern diaspora—depending on who you believe, originated at either a 1930s speakeasy in Harlem or a 1940s soul spot in Los Angeles! But for me I feel like it really became a fad or I started noticing it popping up when I was in college. Either way, I am so happy it’s a brunch tradition these days and I love changing it up with new flavors! Korean fried chicken and scallion waffles with Gochujang maple syrup is my new fave! Savory scallion waffles, hot fried chicken, smothered in a spicy maple syrup. Everything I want in a Sunday brunch!
I crave the flavors of Korean cooking! Tons of ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and Gochujang which is a fermented red chili paste. And kimchi is always a staple with every meal. I have these Korean fried chicken sandwiches with a kimchi slaw or these fall off the bone Korean spareribs on the blog – always on a rotation in our house.
So lets talk how to make chicken and waffles!
– For me, Belgium waffles reign supreme. They are light and airy by adding in fluffy egg whites that have been beaten into stiff peaks. Waffle makers are inexpensive and so fun to have in your kitchen if you don’t already have one. Here’s the one we have, but you can get a simple single sided version as well.
– Jazzing up waffles with a more savory touch like scallions is such a fun change-up from the sweeter versions.
– Using boneless skinless chicken thighs is a must, giving you a much juicier fried chicken.
– Always coat whatever it is that you’re frying with in a dry ingredient (often flour). Next, dip it in egg or milk. Then back into a dry ingredient. Follow this simple rule, and you’ll be golden! Same goes for this recipe. I like to spice up my wet mixture, in this case with Gochujang! Dredge chicken in flour mixture, making sure to shake off excess –> coat chicken completely in Gochujang milk mixture –> then return it to flour mixture that’s mixed with a little buttermilk for a second dusting making sure to coat really well. The clumpy flour and buttermilk gives that final coating all the crunchy bits we love! Place chicken on a wire rack so it doesn’t get mushy on one side, then repeat with remaining chicken. It’s best to coat all the chicken ahead of time so you can fry with ease!
– Lastly, DIVE IN!
Korean Fried Chicken and Scallion Waffles with Gochujang Maple Syrup
For the Korean Fried Chicken
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- big pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp Gochujang
- canola oil for frying
For the Waffles
- 2 large eggs seperated, egg whites in one bowl yolk in another
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil plus more for brushing the waffle iron
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup finely chopped scallions
Gochujang Maple Syrup
- Mix maple syrup with a tablespoon or two of gochujang at a time until you reach desired spice level!
To make the chicken
- Place chicken on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.
- Mix flour and 2 tbsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk gochujang paste and buttermilk in a seperate bowl. Working with one piece at a time, dedge chicken pieces in flour, turning to coat, shaking to remove excess flour, and then return to rack; Pour 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture into the remaining flour and work in with your hands. Dip the chicken in the remaining buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip off, then for the final dip coat the chicken in the moistened flour and pack it on to the chicken, gently shaking off the excess for the last time. So to summarize, dip in flour then dip in buttermilk, and lastly dip in the moistened buttermilk/flour mixture which give you those crunchy bits.
- Pour oil into a large heavy pot fitted with thermometer to come halfway up sides. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 350°. Working in 2 batches, fry chicken, turning often and adjusting heat to maintain temperature, until deep golden brown, 5–8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a clean wire rack set over paper towels to drain.
Make the waffles
- Preheat the waffle maker and brush with oil or spray with nonstick spray
- Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or by hand until stiff peaks form.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vegetable oil, sesame oil, egg yolks, and chopped scallions.
- Whisk wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then gently fold in egg whites. Pour about ½ cup batter into each waffle mold, then cook according to waffle maker directions or until they are golden brown. Serve waffles immediately with hot fried chicken and gochujang maple syrup.
For the Gochujang Maple Syrup
- Mix as much maple syrup as you want with a tablespoon or two of gochujang at a time until you reach desired spice level!