caramelised onion vermicelli with Korean hot sauce chicken
Saturday, 28 Jan 2017


This is a bit of a lazy recipe I’m afraid, but in its favour, it’s an honest reflection of how many of us cook now (ie. throwing supermarket items together and hoping for the best). I had a desire for fried chicken, first for Good Friend’s Taiwanese-style chicken who unfortunately weren’t open when I was in Chinatown, and then for Spit and Roast’s buttermilk fried chicken with Korean chilli sauce from Zelman Drinks in Finsbury Park, but it seemed too much hassle to dress and leave the house and, anyway, it’s full of people and has bagcheck.

I successfully assembled this out of supermarket ingredients and gochujang. If you find yourself hungry at home and without gochujang, this would work equally well without the Korean hot sauce and just some sriracha or other chilli sauce, or actually, just some lime juice. Other than the gochujang and chilli flakes, everything I’ve used came from the Sainsburys across the road. I used stick-in-the-oven battered chicken goujons and bags of fresh vermicelli, baby corn and mangetout. At the risk of sounding incredibly lazy, I’m fond of the bags of prepared stir-fry veg, diced butternut squash - and most recently I’ve seen a pack of prepared Mediterranean vegetables, which I’ve mentally earmarked for a day I want to make a vegetable tart but can’t face chopping. My justification is that on a whole it’s preferable for me to cook using prepared veg in a bag than to not cook at all. I only wish that they came in biodegradable packaging.

The only real work here is the onions, and these can be peeled, quartered, and run through a food processor fitted with the slicing insert, though I sliced them by hand because the food processor wouldn’t have fit in the dishwasher with all the other dirty dishes. It’s vital to caramelise the onions here as they’re an important flavour component for this sweet and savoury dish (soy sauce being the savoury part), so allot at least a good 20 minutes for this. You could toss the chicken with the chilli sauce to coat it and that’s what I initially planned to do, but I settled with just blobbing the sauce on top.

caramelised onion vermicelli with Korean hot sauce chicken

  • 1 package fresh rice vermicelli
  • 1 package mangetout
  • 1 package baby corn
  • 2 red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp gochujang
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • battered chicken

Turn the oven on and cook your battered chicken (or your choice of protein). Keep warm in the oven when done.

Mix the gochujang, vinegar and honey in a bowl. Microwave for about 45 seconds and stir until cohesive. This forms your Korean hot sauce.

Chop the red onions into thin slices.

Heat some oil in a pan. Dump the onions in and leave for about 8 minutes. Return to it (they should be soft and brown), flip the onions, leave. It should take about 20 minutes total for your onions to caramelise.

In the meantime prepare your veg. Cut the baby corn into little chunks. If you want to use peppers or spinach or whatever, now is the time to do it.

When the onions are caramelised, crush the garlic cloves into the hot pan. Stir fry for a few minutes until garlic is no longer raw (it will be brown from the caramelised onions so don't use that as a yardstick, they should be a little soft when ready). Turn up the heat.

Add in the veg, stir fry at high heat. Add in the 2 tbsp dark soy sauce and chilli flakes.

When the veg is still crunchy but no longer raw, add the vermicelli. Stir fry over a high heat, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon until the flavours are well integrated.

To assemble, place the vermicelli and veg on a plate, the battered chicken on top and some Korean hot sauce over that.