Korean chicken drumsticks are marinated in a spicy ginger sauce before being baked and dipped into a kimchi aioli. The most epic Korean themed low carb dinner! Gluten-Free & Dairy Free too. Korean chicken drumsticks are my new favorite way to make chicken. For a while there I was on the ultimate fish kick this summer, and then I completely way way way overdid it. I am now no longer interested in new fish recipes but I am all about super hearty chicken.
Years ago I was all about chicken breasts, then I moved onto the fattier and more flavorful chicken thighs, and now I’m branching out to chicken drumsticks.
I love the dark meat on the drumstick and the fact that you can eat it oh so casually by literally gripping it with your hands. And now that I’m back from a summer in Europe feasting on Mediterranean flavors I am obsessively preparing strictly Asian themed recipes currently.
My standard recipes always linger somewhere between Thai (think massaman chicken curry) and Vietnamese fusion (think avocado mango summer rolls) but this time around I wanted more of a Korean flair.
At my all time favorite grocery store Wegman’s I just so happened to be strolling down the Asian food aisle and spotted a jar of spicy Korean red pepper paste, also known as Gochujang. If you can’t find it in stores, feel free to buy it online.
It’s simply amazing. It’s nothing like Thai or Chinese spicy pastes, it just takes on a whole different world of flavor.
The thing with getting into Asian cooking is that you do have to invest in a few serious pantry staples, think fish sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, tamari, rice vinegar, etc, but once you have the sky is the limit. There is no shortage of flavor combinations you can create with a medley and mix of these sauces. I have an entire drawer in the kitchen dedicated to all my Asian flavoring sauces and ingredients. And surprisingly, I go through them all fairly fast.
So please, please, don’t be deterred by this recipe just because you have to go out and purchase the Korean red pepper paste. You’re going to love it and you’ll be making this Korean chicken dish every week. Or any other Korean chicken dish. I wanted to make this one with drumsticks with I marinated in the best Korean flavored sauce ever, but you could also make this with thighs, breast, etc.
Once the Korean chicken is marinated let is sit for anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight. The longer it sits the more the flavors develop. Then, preheat the oven, dip each drumsticks into sesame seeds for additional crunch and pop of flavor and bake in the oven. I love to finish everything in the oven with a few minutes under the broiler – get to really put that finishing crispy touch on them.
As a dipping sauce for these Korean chicken drumsticks I whipped up a quick kimchi aioli – made simply with reserved liquid from a jar of kimchi, some mayo, and limes.
Kimchi by the way is also a current obsession of mine. My favorite brand is the Jo San Kim Chee which you can find at Wegman’s but if you’re shopping on Amazon, this is a good one to try. With this Korean chicken it makes for the perfect side dish and the aioli has just the slightest hint of spice, mixed with that fragrant and flavorful fermented kimchi flavor.
These Korean chicken drumsticks were a huge hit with my whole family. Lightly spicy, yet with underlying hints of sweetness balanced our perfectly with the zesty slightly sour aioli. A perfect Asian themed low carb dinner!
- 12 chicken drumsticks
- 2 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon gluten free tamari
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon kimchi liquid from a jar of kimchi
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 lime zested
- 2-4 tablespoon mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl combine the marinade ingredients: Korean paste, sesame oil, honey, tamari, and ginger. Mix until smooth.
Add chicken to the bowl and combine with the marinade, making sure to rub the marinade under the skin.
Let marinade for 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Dip each drumsticks in sesame seeds (optional)
Bake on a baking sheet for 35-45 minutes and broil on high for 5-10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and nicely crisped up.
For the sauce combine the kimchi liquid, lime juice, lime zest and mayo. Mix until smooth.
Can be made with or without the sesame seeds. If you do not have kimchi liquid, you can add some Sriracha or chili garlic sauce to the mayo instead.
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Lisa | Garlic & Zest says
Oh my gosh — we just had that stupid Hurricane Irma and lost power for 5 days — as a result the food in the fridge spoiled and I had to toss all of my asian staples. Now I’ll have to repurchase, because this is happening!
Oh noooo that’s terrible! Same thing happened to my best friend. That would make me so so sad- having to throw away everything in the fridge!
Ashley - Forking Up says
Drumsticks are always so cheap that I pick some up whenever I’m at the store. But my usual ranch and breadcrumbs gets boring. This certainly isn’t boring! I want to try it.
I never used to buy them but now that I am bored with chicken breasts and thighs I am all about chicken drumsticks!
Luci's Morsels says
These look amazing! I love the flavors you’ve included and I am totally going to try these!
Thanks! Let me know what you think!
Patty @ Spoonabilities says
These drumsticks look absolutely amazing. Yummy!
Thanks! THey’re my new favorite chicken recipe!
Denisse Salinas says
Yum! These looks so delicious, I bet they are bursting with flavor! Kimchi aioli is so creative!
You’ve got to try the kimchi aioli! It’s the best!
Wow! So delicious!