Los Angeles-based blogger Chungah Rhee's mouth-watering food photos are everywhere.
You'd probably seen her Damn Delicious recipes and photos on Buzzfeed — or the Huffington Post — or the Kitchn. Her simple, but fulfilling meals that are both obtainable and Pinnable, so it wasn't much a surprise when the 28-year-old snagged her first cookbook contract with Oxmoor House. The home cook, who decided to blog fulltime in 2013 once her website picked up steam, released "Damn Delicious: 100 Easy, Super Fast Recipes" earlier this month.
When did you first start dabbling with your own recipe development?
Probably right around sophomore year of college. I moved into my very first apartment with a full kitchen, and didn't have the convenience of dorm food anymore. At that point, I had to get really creative in the kitchen to create a full meal on a tight student budget.
How do balance a meal that’s both nourishing and indulgent?
I like to create well-rounded meals with a good amount of protein and veggies — like my One-Pan Mexican Quinoa. But if we're being honest, a little bit of cheese here and there never hurt anybody!
What’s meal planning like in your home, does it revolve around posting for the blog?
It's actually the other way around — I post meals that I actually cook and eat with my friends and family.
Is there any one recipe from the book you make again and again?
Yes! The Spaghetti Carbonara is an all-time favorite. It takes 20 minutes from start to finish and has the shortest ingredient list of all time! Plus, there's bacon in it. It's a win-win.
Bang-Bang Chicken from "Damn Delicious: 100 Easy, Super Fast Recipes" by Chungah Rhee
Serves 4 Prep time: 15 minutes Total time: 30 minutes
Another restaurant favorite that can easily be made in your own kitchen, this is one of my most popular recipes. It makes the most amazingly crisp chicken bites and a sweet chili mayo sauce that’s so good, you may be tempted to eat it with a spoon.
For the sweet chili mayo sauce:
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons hot sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot Sauce)
For the chicken:
1 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
1 cup buttermilk
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup cornstarch
1 large egg
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1⁄4 pounds), cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Make the sweet chili mayo sauce: Whisk together the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, honey, and hot sauce in a small bowl; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, egg, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken pieces, and toss to coat.
Working with one piece at a time, dredge the chicken in the panko, pressing to make sure each piece is evenly coated. Set aside.
Working in batches, fry the chicken in the skillet until evenly golden and crispy on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
Serve immediately, drizzled with the sweet chili mayo sauce.