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.

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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)

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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)

Directions

  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.

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264 Comments:

  1. juniper89 Daegu, Korea joined 1/14 & has 3 comments

    Hey Maangchi! I’m planning on making this soon and wanted to know how I can add ddeok to it. When I lived in Korea, I used to go to the local chicken shop and get Yangnyeom with ddeok! It was crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, could I fry it, then add it to the chicken and sauce?

  2. eatallrecipes US joined 8/18 & has 4 comments

    I never use ketchup because I find it unnecessarily overly sweet and kept avoiding this dish because all recipes seemed to use it. Hoping for best, I skipped the rice syrup and added hot pepper flakes using your video with FIrstWeFeast and it had a delicious balance of savory, spicy, and sweet.

  3. jyoo214 Seattle, WA joined 7/18 & has 1 comment

    Thank you so much for this recipe, Maangchi! Your recipes are always amazing and bring so much happiness to our family. As someone diagnosed with Celiac disease, I make modifications with gluten-free flour instead of regular flour. This has allowed me to eat delicious Korean fried chicken at home!

  4. Lashayya.K United Kingdom joined 7/18 & has 1 comment

    I made this for my family yesterday and they loved it (it was spicy for them but perfect for me hehe) Thank you Maangchi!


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  5. Ondrejsrb London joined 5/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi, I have combined this and your other way to make Korean chicken. I have used corn starch and an egg and it worked brilliantly. Love Korean food. Love at first bite.

  6. NoAngel815 Northern Illinois joined 2/18 & has 1 comment

    Do you think I could make this in an airfryer? I can’t eat foods fried in oil anymore but I love this dish!

  7. daphishere Corona, California joined 2/18 & has 3 comments

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


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  8. LittlestBiscuit Toronto joined 1/18 & has 1 comment

    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

  9. Cornelius B. Ecuador joined 12/17 & has 40 comments

    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!

  10. philpogi philippines joined 9/17 & has 1 comment

    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

  11. Rym NL joined 9/17 & has 2 comments

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

  12. eliiem Mexico joined 8/17 & has 2 comments

    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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