I’m finally posting a recipe that so many of you have requested over the years!
When I lived in Korea, this type of chicken was called yangnyeom-tongdak. As I mentioned in the video, yangnyeom means “seasoned” and tongdak means “a whole chicken.” Traditionally a small whole chicken was cut into chunks, coated in batter or dried ingredients, fried, and mixed with a sweet, sour, and spicy sauce.
We used to order a half or whole chicken from one of the yangnyeom-tongdak places in my neighborhood.
I called them and said: “I want a half chicken!”
Then the owner of the chicken place said: “Yes, ok!”
Fresh, hot yangnyeom-tongdak would be delivered to my home in 30 minutes!
One day I went in for takeout and had a chance to watch the owner making the chicken for me. My eyes burned into his hands as I watched. He used garlic, tomato ketchup, sugar, and hot pepper paste!
Some time later I made it at home with the recipe I had seen him use. It was perfect. My children said: “Mom, this tastes exactly like the chicken place!”
I always preferred my dakgangjeong to yangnyeom-tongdak, and whenever I had a party, event, or wanted to surprise people, I made dakgangjeong because everybody loved it and was curious about the recipe.
A yangnyeom-tongdak place was on every corner in Korea when I lived there. All of them tasted similar, the only difference between this place or that place came down to 3 elements: batter mix, the ratio of dried ingredients, and the sauce. Many entrepreneurs created their own recipes to avoid paying high fees to a well-known franchises.
I remember some of funny popular franchise names such as:
- “Mother-in-Law’s Chicken” (Korean mothers-in-law are always nice to the sons-in-law): 장모님 치킨 (Jangmonim Chicken)
- “Son-in-Law Mr.Lee’s chicken”: 이서방 치킨 (Lee Seobang Chicken)
- “Pelicana Chicken”: 펠리카나 치킨 (Pelicana Chicken)
- “Wife’s Parent’s House Chicken”: 처가집 치킨(Cheogajip Chicken)
- “Very Large Chicken”: 아주커 치킨 (Ahju-keo Chicken)
After I left Korea, I’m sure many more places have sprung up, each with their own recipe.
In the “recipe request” section on the forum on my website, how many people have requested this type of chicken dish? Yes, so many! Some people emailed me, too! Kyochon Chicken, Bonchon Chicken … I can tell you that they’re all very similar, the only differences being those 3 elements that I mentioned.
I have developed this recipe over 3 years. Whenever I made this fried chicken, I tried different mixes of dried ingredients and different ways to make the sauce. At first I tried not to use rice or corn syrup or ketchup and I replaced them with more natural, wholesome ingredients, but I was never satisfied with the appearance, taste, and flavor. So far this is the best ratio that I have come up with and I feel it’s time to release this recipe to my lovely readers. What shall I call this chicken? Maangchi’s Chicken? : )
Enjoy the recipe and I will let you know if I ever invent a better one.
Ingredients (for 3-4 servings):
- 3 pounds (about 1.5 kg) of chicken chunks
- ground black pepper
- potato starch powder
- sweet rice flour
- baking soda
- canola oil (or vegetable oil)
- hot pepper paste
- rice syrup
- apple vinegar
- Rinse chunks of chicken in cold water. Drain.
*tip: You could use chicken wings, too. About 24 wings will be 3 pounds.
- Add 1 ts ground black pepper and 1 ts kosher salt.
- Add ½ cup potato starch powder, ¼ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup sweet rice flour, 1 ts baking soda, and 1 egg.
- Mix well by hand and completely coat the chicken.
- Put 6-7 cups of canola oil in a wok or frying pan and heat it up.
- After it’s heated for about 7-8 minutes, test if the oil is ready by dipping a sample chunk of chicken into the oil. If the oil bubbles, it’s the right temperature to start frying.
Fry them using the double-frying method:
- Fry the chicken chunks for 10 minutes over high heat.
- Take them out of the oil and shake them off in a strainer. Let them sit for a few minutes.
- Fry them again for another 10 minutes until all pieces look golden brown and are crunchy outside.
*tip: If your skillet is not large enough to fry all the chicken at once, divide it into batches like I do in the video.
While you are frying, you can make the sauce:
- Put 1 tbs canola oil and 4 cloves of minced garlic into a heated pan,
- Add 1/3 cup tomato ketchup, 1/3 cup rice syrup, ¼ cup hot pepper paste, 1 tbs apple vinegar and simmer the mixture for about about 7 minutes. Keep your heat low and be sure not to burn the sauce.
- Turn off the heat and wait until the chicken is done.
Chicken is done? Then coat your chicken with the sauce:
- Reheat the sauce.
- Put the freshly fried chicken into the sauce and gently mix it up with a wooden spoon.
- Sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds over top and serve hot or warm.