HAWAIʻI in the Kitchen: Colin’s Garlic ʻKorean Style’ Fried Chicken

Oʻahu-born Colin Hazama, executive chef at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort in Waikīkī, shares his take on an Island favorite: garlic fried chicken.
Colin’s Garlic ʻKorean Style’ Fried Chicken
Photo: Courtesy of Colin Hazama

Garlic fried chicken is as much a potluck staple in Hawaiʻi as poke and mac salad. Bite-size chicken pieces, fried to golden and drenched in a slightly spicy and very garlicky sauce—it’s one seductive dish!

Colin Hazama (@chefcolinhazama), the Oʻahu-born executive chef at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort in Waikīkī, shares his take on this island favorite, using a ton of local ingredients. (But you can use whatever you have.) He also adds a fun Filipino-style marinated salad to top the fried chicken.

As if you couldn’t make the dish any better.

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Here’s the recipe:

Colin’s Garlic “Korean Style” Fried Chicken

(The actual title is “Colin’s Garlic ʻKorean Style’ Fried Chicken Crispy Garlic & Sesame, Sweet Chile Garlic Sauce, Ho Farms Tomato & Warabi Salad, ʻEwa Sweet Onion.”)

Fried Chicken


4 to 5 fresh chicken thighs, with the skin on, cut in about five cubes per thigh

For marinade:

  • 3 T. garlic oil (To make, simmer 3 to 4 garlic cloves on low heat with 1 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil for 15 minutes, then strain.)
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 1/2 T. fresh cracked black pepper

For flour mixture:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 1/2 T. cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a large ziploc bag and add chicken, then shake well and dust in strainer to remove excess flour. Let sit for 15 minutes before deep frying.

Warabi Ho Farms Tomato Salad


  • 1 cup Warabi fern shoots (or substitute with asparagus or green beans), cut 1 inch on the bias, blanched and shocked in an ice bath
  • 1 cup Ho Farms tomatoes (or substitute with cherry tomatoes), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup ʻEwa sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. rice vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. chile paste

Mix well and let it marinate for 30 minutes before serving.

Garlic Chile Sauce


2 T. grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp. ginger, grated
4 T. sugar
2 T. gochujang paste
4 T. sweet Thai chile sauce
4 T. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
1/2 cup water
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 T. water
1 T. toasted sesame seeds
1 T. crispy fried garlic
1 T. green onion, thinly sliced


Cook and add all ingredients in synchronized order by following the video, start by sautéing the grated garlic and ginger on medium heat for about 1 to 2 minutes. Next add in sugar and gochujang paste, then add sweet Thai chile sauce. Next add water, soy sauce and sesame oil. When ingredients come up to a boil, add in cornstarch slurry and cook for 1 minute while whisking. Turn off the heat and fold in half of the green onions and sesame seeds; save the rest for your garnish. Set sauce aside.

Deep-fry chicken on 350 degrees or medium high heat in a shallow pot of oil and fry for 3 to 5 minutes. Pull out of oil and dry on paper towel.  Toss with sauce and garnish with Warabi tomato salad and fried garlic and green onion. Next grab some chopsticks or your fingers and dig in and enjoy.

Categories: Recipes, Watch