Sweet, sour, & spicy Korean fried chicken

Yangnyeom-tongdak 양념통닭

Hi everybody!
I wanted to update my recipe for yangnyeom-tongdak Korean fried chicken which I originally posted in 2011 after so many people requested it, even back then. Now millions of people have used and enjoyed the recipe and I’ve included it in my cookbook too. I’ve been making this for decades so I really wanted to make an improved HD video for the recipe with a few improvements I’ve developed over the years, as well as proper measurements. This new version is almost the same as the one in Real Korean Cooking, with just a tweak to the amount of flour used.

Yangnyeom means seasoned and tongdak means a whole chicken but it’s really just bite sized fried chicken, so sometimes we just call it yangnyeom chicken. The history of yangnyeom-tongdak is not long, starting in early 1980s. I remember when that kind of fried chicken was popular and I used to order it all the time for my family. I’d call up the chicken shop and they’d deliver delicious, hot, spicy, garlicky, and crunchy chicken to our house in less than an hour.

The chicken shops making yangnyeom-tongdak were usually franchises. All of them tasted similar, the only difference between this place or that place came down to 2 elements: batter mix and the sauce. 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)

One day on my way home from work, I stopped by our local chicken shop for take out. “Can you make and wrap 1 order of yangnyeom-tongdak for me?” I knew the store owner because he was my long time neighbor. He cooked the chicken right in front of me and I saw the entire process. I watched as he made the batter, fried it twice, and made the red garlicky sauce with ketchup and gochujang. My eyes burned into his hands. It looked so easy!

Later I made it at home. My children said, “It tastes exactly like the fried chicken place!”

My 2 children are grown-ups now and I asked them: “Do you remember the first time I made yangnyeom-tongdak at home, just like the fried chicken shop?”

Yes, they remembered! : ) That chicken was delicious and it’s the same chicken I’ve been sharing with all of you. Enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients

For 3 to 4 servings

For the sauce:

For a side dish, pickled radish (chicken-mu), optional

Directions

Fry chicken:

  1. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large heavy frying pan or pot over medium hight heat for about 10 to 12 minutes until it reaches 330-350ºF. I used my 12 inch pan but if your pan is smaller, work by batches. If you don’t have a thermometer, test it by dipping one piece of chicken in the oil. If it bubbles, it is ready.
  2. While the oil is heating, combine chicken, salt, ground black pepper, starch, flour, baking soda, and eggs in a bowl. Mix altogether well by hand.
  3. Add the coated chicken to hot oil one by one. Fry them for 12 minutes until the all sides of the chicken are crunchy, turning over with tongs.Yangnyeom chicken
  4. Take out the chicken with tongs or a large slotted spoon to wire strainer over a bowl to remove the excess oil.

Make seasoning sauce:

  1. Heat the 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Stir in garlic until light brown for about 30 seconds. Add the ketchup, rice syrup, gochujang, vinegar and stir well with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low and stir until bubbling. Remove from the heat.

Start the second fry:

  1. Let the oil heat up for 2 minutes over medium high heat until it reaches 330-350ºF.
  2. Fry the chicken one more time, turning over with tongs for about another 12 minutes until very crunchy.
  3. Reheat the sauce over medium high heat until it’s bubbling again. Add all the hot crunchy chicken and mix well with a wooden spoon and tongs.sweet spicy crunchy Korean fried chicken

Finish and serve:

  1. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with chicken-mu (pickled radish) if you have it.sweet spicy crunchy fried chicken

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294 Comments:

  1. Abijay United States joined 7/11 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi, I’m gonna try this tonight looks good. Can i use Ground fresh chili paste intead of hot pepper paste if not then i’m just gonna try to find hot pepper paste. ty

  2. IsabeLeeta Flushing, NY joined 3/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi, I love that you posted this recipe. Kyochon chicken is one of my faves, and your recipe sounds like it comes very close to theirs. Now, I was wondering is the rice flour very necessary? Can I just use 1/2 of regular all purpose flour instead? Or perhaps bread flour? Thanks!

  3. Dir en grey joined 2/11 & has 9 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you for this recipe! My sister and I made it for dinner and it was delicious! Definitely will make this again in the future :)!!

    Whole chicken was on sale for 65 cents a pound and we bought a pretty decent size one and chopped it up. We used 1.5x the recipe amount and it had the perfect amount of sauce. We didn’t have rice syrup or apple vinegar so we used corn syrup and regular vinegar and it turned out fine. Next time I’ll use a big big pot to make the sauce cause the mountain of chicken was trying to jump out of the pan x(!

    My sister says no more KFC haha.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      awesome. It sounds like you made really delicious chicken! I’m making this for July 4th party on Monday! : )

      • Dir en grey joined 2/11 & has 9 comments

        Nice! We still have left overs since we used a whole chicken to make this recipe. I ate some this morning without microwaving it and believe it or not the chicken still made the crispy crunchy noise haha!

        They had frozen chicken wings/drums at the supermarket today buy one get one free and we bought 2 bags >:D… guess what we are going to use them for :D! Yangnyeom tongdak!

  4. EdTait Loreto, Mexico joined 6/11 & has 1 comment

    We live in Mexico, where many things we are used to being able to access, is not always available…..May I substitute corn starch for potato starch and….might I substitute normal wheat flour for rice flour…? And….what might I substitute for rice syrup…?

    I’d love to make your chicken with the ingredients you suggest be used….some things are just not available here on Baja….

    Best

    Ed

  5. Ikkin-bot edmonton joined 9/10 & has 27 comments

    I made this tonight. I really is the best fried chicken I’ve ever had!

    http://ikkin-bot.blogspot.com/2011/06/cooking-korean-yangnyeom-tongdak.html

  6. wiydiy Indonesia joined 5/11 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, i often read your blog but i just joined this site. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. i am from Indonesia, i usually eat this yangnyeom chicken from a korean restaurant near my place. but they’re overpriced.

    i really want to try this recipe. what is sweet rice flour? is it the same with glutinous rice flour? and can i replace the corn syrup with honey? or just the simple syrup?

    sorry for asking too much, Maangchi! :)

  7. miso manchester, england joined 3/11 & has 1 comment

    hi Maangchi!
    first time posting on your site though i’ve been watching your cooking show for a while :)
    im just excited because i made a vegetarian version of yangnyeom tongdak using Quorn, a soy-protein product we have in England (which interestingly looks and feels like real chicken!).. Lyle’s Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup, and some chili powder and soy sauce because i didn’t have gochujang…. and it still turned out well! your recipe is fantastic, the coating is so crispy and lovely! it brought me back to when i used to eat Pelicana chicken in Korea when visiting my grandmother (when i wasn’t vegetarian) :)
    thanks for all your recipes, i’m really enjoying learning each recipe… these are such a great resource and you make me laugh!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Quorn, yes, I heard about it from one of my readers! Vegetarian yangnyeom tondak (seasoned fried chicken)! How is it possible! lol! But I know what you mean. Someone makes vegetarian fish sauce! I’m very impressed by my readers’ creativity! Please upload the photo if you make it again later.
      https://www.maangchi.com/photos/upload
      I can refer it to vegetarians who love to taste yangnyeom tongdak. : ) Cheers!

  8. Neny Lily Lao Philippines joined 5/11 & has 12 comments

    Wow! This recipe has to be included on my menu. Seemed so very different from my other chicken recipes. Surely, this will be a great surprise to my son as he loves chicken very much

    .

  9. Just made this, so good!!!! I’m excited to make it for my family when i go home :) thanks Maangchi!!!!

  10. JaneyCooks joined 4/11 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, I know this is complete sacrilege, so please pretend this doesnt offend your gourmet instinct, but can i bake this chicken instead of frying it? My friends and I are aging but we love our crispy chicken. Any suggestions with the baking?

  11. Little-Bird Saudi Arabia - almadinah joined 4/11 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi
    i want to make this recipe for my family Tomorrow , it look so YummY ..^^..
    But the most of my family does not like chicken skin .. can i take it out ?

  12. carbonarapasta27 philippinws joined 4/11 & has 1 comment

    hi maangchi.!!! kamsahamnida for this recipe.. I used to eat this whenever my friend cooked this for me, but now, because of your video, i can make it on my own..

    i just want to ask, is it necessary for me to add the rice syrup or is it ok if i will put sugar instead of the rice syrup.???

  13. tastesofhome joined 11/10 & has 10 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I made this today and my family and I totally loved it! Fabulous! For my own little twist, I used plum sauce instead of ketchup and it worked out well too – a little fruitier :) But thanks so much for this recipe! Here’s the link to the photos:

    http://tastesofhome.blogspot.com/2011/04/korean-fried-chicken-recipe-yangnyeom.html

  14. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11 & has 120 comments

    I am making this for a party tonight – it will be my third time. Every time I make it everyone loves it! I think it would be more popular here than KFC and healthier!

  15. mahyazmama OKC joined 3/11 & has 2 comments

    I made this last night for the first time and OMG it was sooo good! I put one tablespoon of the red pepper paste instead and it was sweet but just left just a lite spicy tingle on the tip of the tongue and lips. Don’t tell my boyfriend’s mom, but he said that it taste like her’s but he liked mine better because he could eat it without burning his mouth!! haha I ate 2 pieces of chicken and he ate 6 pieces!!! I’m Mexican, Cherokee, German, and Dutch and he’s 100% Korean, so it made me feel good that he really liked it! :-D Thank you so much Maangchi for your recipes. I bought two of your books on Amazon (volume 1&2 and Volume 3)and suppose to get them tomorrow. Can’t wait to try out more recipes! Thanks again! :-D

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Thank you very much for buying my books! You make me make money! : )
      I’m so happy to hear that your chicken was a big hit! “.. just a lite spicy tingle on the tip of the tongue and lips..” cute expression!

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