These Korean Pickle Brine Fries are an original recipe inspired by The Pickle Guys in New York City. My man and I stopped by The Diller (by The Pickle Guys) in the Lower East Side to try their dill pickle brine fries and we were completely hooked!
I thought this might taste great with the brine from one of my favorite Korean side dishes that I usually eat with Korean fried chicken, called chicken mu or Korean pickled radish! Since it has a sweet, salty, and sour flavor profile, I thought it was the perfect way to put our own spin on this unique recipe.
The result? A french fry you’ve never had before! The texture of these fries is quite different from your regular fries since it has a little bite to them. The brine pulls the moisture out of the potatoes, while the salt and vinegar penetrate deep into them to create an extremely flavorful bite.
The only catch is that you’ll need to let the potatoes brine for at least 12 hours, but if you can wait a little longer I recommend you let them sit for 24 hours. I promise the flavor will be worth the wait!
Since I’m also a firm believer that all fries need a side of dipping sauce, a creamy gochujang mayo will be the perfect pair for this Korean pickled brine fries recipe.
What is pickle brine?
Pickling is a traditional method of preserving food by using an acidic solution, known as brine. The solution usually consists of salty water, vinegar, lemon juice, or sugary water, and is poured over fruits, vegetables, fish, or meat. When stored in an airtight container, the brine will change the color of the food and give it a sweet and sour taste.
If kept in these ideal conditions, the pickled food can last for months or even years without storing them inside the fridge! It’s said that pickling dates back to the ancient Mesopotamian culture, where they used to soak cucumbers in brine to prolong their lifespan. Pickles are still prevalent nowadays for preserving various ingredients and while most people throw away the leftover pickle brine, this recipe is a great way to minimize waste and make something super tasty!
How do I prepare Korean Pickle Brine Fries with Gochujang Mayo?
These may not be your usual fries, but the anticipation of waiting for them overnight may make them taste even better. To make this recipe, follow my steps below:
Step 1: Make the brine
In a bowl, combine the sugar, white vinegar, salt, and water. Mix until most of the sugar and salt have dissolved, then set aside.
Step 2: Slice the potatoes
For this recipe, you won’t need to peel the potatoes as long as you wash them well and pat them dry with a paper towel. If you’d prefer to peel them, that’s ok too! Slice the potatoes into ¼-inch thick strips.
Step 3: Brine the potatoes
Place the sliced potatoes inside an airtight container, then pour the brine until they’re fully submerged. Cover and place the container in the fridge for at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Once it’s ready, remove them from the fridge and drain the brine. Lay the drained potatoes on a bed of paper towels and pat them dry.
Step 4: Frying
In a deep pot, pre-heat the oil to 325°F (165°C), then fry the potatoes in batches for 4-5 minutes. Cooking the potatoes separately will prevent the pot from overcrowding and sticking together.
Be careful not to over-fry the potatoes and turn brown at this stage since they will be double-fried later. After frying, remove them from the oil and place them on a wire rack or paper towels to drain the excess oil. Repeat this step for the rest of the potatoes.
Step 5: Double-frying
To double fry the potatoes, turn the heat up to 375°F (190°C) and cook them in batches for 1 minute or until golden brown. Then, remove them from the heat and place them on a wire rack or paper towels to cool. Repeat this step for the rest of the fries.
*Please note that the fries are already salted from the brine so you won’t need to season them with salt after frying.
Step 6: Make the gochujang mayo dipping sauce
In a bowl, combine the gochujang, gochugaru, sugar, mayo, garlic, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Mix until everything is well combined. Serve the sauce with the fries, and enjoy them while they’re hot!
The sauce can be made in advance. Just make sure to stick it in the fridge until it’s ready to serve!
Cooking tips for Korean Pickle Brine Fries
The frying process of the potatoes is similar to cooking regular fries, except these brine fries are double-fried to make them extra crispy. To help you get that excellent golden brown perfection, here are a few cooking tips to keep in mind:
- Since the temperature of the oil is key to cooking the fries, I recommend using a thermometer to maintain an accurate temperature.
- Thinner sliced potatoes will result in a crispier fry, so avoid cutting them too thick. They should be the same thickness as McD’s!
- The fries are already salted from the brine so you won’t need to season them with salt after frying.
Potatoes: If you want to switch up your fries, you can substitute the potatoes with sweet potatoes since they have a similar starchy texture but with a dominantly sweeter flavor. If you like sweet and salty flavor combos (like me), sweet potatoes would be a great alternative.
Gochujang: Since gochujang has a distinct flavor profile, the closest alternative to it is to mix some miso paste, cayenne pepper, salt, and sugar to recreate its flavor. But to keep it simple, you can also substitute with Sriracha!
Gochugaru: Gochugaru or Korean red chili flakes can be found in Korean grocery markets, but you can also replace them with chipotle powder, cayenne pepper, or paprika.
Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar is often available in most Asian markets. But if you’re in a pinch you can swap it for white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and add ¼ tsp sugar for every tablespoon of vinegar you’re using.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is gochujang?
The sweet and tangy flavor of the pickle brine fries will go well with a gochujang mayo dipping sauce. But if you’re not familiar with gochujang, it’s a Korean red chili paste that’s commonly used in a variety of dishes. It’s usually made with red chili peppers, fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, salt, and sugar.
Aside from sauces, you can also add gochujang into soups, stews, and marinades to create a flavorful dish to complete any meal. Gochujang is traditionally fermented in large earthenwares called, jangdok, and is usually stored outdoors for six months to allow them to develop their distinct flavor.
Now, you can buy gochujang at Korean grocery markets but you can also find them online, like on Amazon. Gochujang can last up to one year in the fridge, as long as you keep the lid tightly closed, or else it will oxidize.
2. What type of potato will go well with this recipe?
I like to use Russet potatoes for this recipe because they make the best fries. Their high starch and low moisture content allow the fries to be soft while maintaining a crispy exterior. They’re also highly absorbent, which allows them to soak up the brine so you can get that burst of flavor in every bite. If you can’t find any Russet potatoes in the store, Yukon Gold potatoes are also excellent alternatives.
3. Can you bake fries in the oven?
For a healthier alternative, you can bake the fries in the oven but it will take longer compared to frying them in batches. To start, line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay the potatoes in a single layer. Bake them at 400°F (205°C) for 30 to 40 minutes, and be sure to flip them over halfway through the cooking time.
What dishes would go well with these Korean Pickle Brine Fries?
These delicious fries can be eaten alone as a snack but if you want to complement it with another dish, here are a few that I can recommend:
1. Burger – What would a burger be without a side of fries? If you’re looking to pair this dish with an equally unique burger, you might want to try my Mushroom Steak Burger recipe here!
2. Corn Dog – Corn dogs are an indulgent snack that everybody loves so when paired with these brined fries, you can expect a tasty and memorable meal. Try my Korean Gamja Hot Dog recipe here!
3. Battered fish – Fish and chips have always been a classic combo, that’s why these Korean Pickled Brine Fries will be perfect to level up its flavors. Check out my Crispy Beer Battered Fish Tacos recipe to enjoy with these fries on your next meal!
4. Sandwich – any sandwich would be a complete meal with a side of fries. If you’re looking for some inspiration, you might want to give my Japanese Egg Sandwich or Korean Street Toast (Gilgeori Toast) recipe a try!
5. Fried Chicken – Fried chicken and fries go together like peanut butter and jelly so this one is a no-brainer. For some recipe ideas, check out my Honey Butter Fried Chicken or Crispy Chicken Gizzards recipes!
I hope you give this recipe a try! Let me know how it turns out 🙂
Korean Pickle Brine Fries
- 4-5 potatoes russet
- 5-6 cups frying oil
- pinch of flakey salt to taste
Korean Pickle Brine
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup + 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 cups water
Gochujang Mayo Dipping Sauce
- 1.5 tbsp gochujang Korean red pepper paste
- 1/2 tsp gochugaru Korean red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup mayo preferably kewpie
- 2 cloves of garlic grated
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- In a bowl, combine the sugar, white vinegar, salt, and water. Mix well until most of the sugar and salt has dissolved. Set aside.
- Wash the potatoes and pat dry. Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch thick strips.
- Place the sliced potatoes into a air tight container. Pour the brine over the potatoes until fully submerged. Cover and place in the fridge overnight, at least 12 hours or preferably 24 hours.
- Remove from fridge and drain the potatoes well. Lay the drained potatoes on a bed of papertowels and pat dry.
- In a deep pot, heat up the frying oil to 325°F / 163°C. Fry the potatoes in batches for 4-5 minutes, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. The potatoes should not be browning at this stage because it will be double fried. Remove and place on a wire rack or paper towels to drain. Repeat this step for the rest of the potatoes.
- Turn the heat up until the oil reaches 375°F / 190°C. Fry the partially cooked potatoes in batches for 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove and place on wire rack or paper towels to cool. Sprinkle with a pinch of flakey salt or regular salt, to taste. Repeat this step until all potatoes are cooked.
- Serve immediately with dipping sauce and enjoy!
Gochujang Mayo Dipping Sauce
- In a bowl, combine the gochujang, gochugaru, sugar, mayo, garlic, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
Pin & save this recipe for later