Sweet, sour, & spicy Korean fried chicken

Yangnyeom-tongdak 양념통닭

Hi everybody,
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.

So when I posted the recipe on YouTube, I was very happy to hear that so many people made it and let me know it was a big hit. So far it’s been watched 292,931 times on YouTube.

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)


  1. Rinse chunks of chicken in cold water. Drain.
    *tip: You could use chicken wings, too. About 24 wings will be 3 pounds.
  2. Add 1 ts ground black pepper and 1 ts kosher salt.
  3. Add ½ cup potato starch powder, ¼ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup sweet rice flour, 1 ts baking soda, and 1 egg.
  4. Mix well by hand and completely coat the chicken.
  5. Put 6-7 cups of canola oil in a wok or frying pan and heat it up.
  6. 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:

  1. Fry the chicken chunks for 10 minutes over high heat.
  2. Take them out of the oil and shake them off in a strainer. Let them sit for a few minutes.
  3. 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:

  1. Put 1 tbs canola oil and 4 cloves of minced garlic into a heated pan,
  2. Add ⅓ cup tomato ketchup, ⅓ 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.
  3. Turn off the heat and wait until the chicken is done.

Chicken is done? Then coat your chicken with the sauce:

  1. Reheat the sauce.
  2. Put the freshly fried chicken into the sauce and gently mix it up with a wooden spoon.
  3. Sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds over top and serve hot or warm.



  1. daphishere Corona, California joined 2/18
    Posted February 13th, 2018 at 1:54 am | # |

    This recipe is so yummy! I’ve made it twice and loved it! Mine turned out so good.

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 17th, 2018 at 1:49 pm | # |

      Yes, I agree with you, your yangnyeom-tongdak looks the best!

  2. LittlestBiscuit Toronto joined 1/18
    Posted January 29th, 2018 at 8:09 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I just wanted to say I really love this recipe :) I made it for my boyfriend as my first meal in my new apartment with some hoddeok for dessert and we both loved it! I made it for my parents too when I went home for Christmas and my mom asked for the link to the recipe :D

  3. Cornelius B. Ecuador joined 12/17
    Posted January 22nd, 2018 at 12:19 pm | # |

    I made this one last week: it´s really super deliciousss! Only added a tsp. of minced ginger to the sauce: that made it perfect!

  4. philpogi philippines joined 9/17
    Posted September 7th, 2017 at 12:23 am | # |

    maangchi! why do u use sweet rice flour together with potato starch? both of them has strong binding agent right? just kinda confused ^^ pls let me know your answer

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 14th, 2017 at 8:42 am | # |

      Sweet rice flour makes it a little more chewy, which is why I use it in this recipe.

  5. Rym NL joined 9/17
    Posted September 1st, 2017 at 1:19 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, If I wanted to make the sauce just a bit more spicy, what would be the best way? Thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 13th, 2017 at 10:05 pm | # |

      I sprinkle some crushed chili peppers to make my chicken spicier. https://www.maangchi.com/ingredient/crushed-chili-peppers

      • Rym NL joined 9/17
        Posted September 14th, 2017 at 1:46 am | # |

        Hi Maangchi! Thanks for the advice! I was also thinking of maybe adding a bit of gochugaru to the sauce, but this is maybe a better idea. Also, one more question, would it be possible to make the sauce a day in advance and keep chilled? Or at least mix all sauce ingredients beforehand and bake them later (at a different location)?

        I’ve already made your recipe SO many times and everyone, literally everyone is crazy about it.

  6. eliiem Mexico joined 8/17
    Posted August 2nd, 2017 at 3:20 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I really love your recipes and I want to try this one, but I have no way of getting hot chilli paste or some of the ingredients to make it. Is there any other ingredient I can use instead? Thank you!!!!

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