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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269 Comments:

  1. helenzella joined 8/10 & has 12 comments

    Finally cooked this tonight and i love it! i loved it since i had a taste of this dish in Korea. Now i can cook it whenever i crave for it. Thanks for sharing, Maangchi!

  2. TDenham77 McLeansboro, IL joined 12/11 & has 8 comments

    Wow….this looks just like the chicken my samchoon got for my sisters & I when we were in Korea! Definitely gonna have to try it out! :)

  3. sedaniel Michigan joined 12/11 & has 1 comment

    I’ve tried to make fried chicken before to no avail, I can never get it as crispy as I’d like. This recipe worked to perfection, and was so tasty! The chicken was very crispy and I like the sauce, my only problem was that I used honey instead of rice syrup because I couldn’t find any, and next time I will add a little less honey because it was a bit too sweet for me. I also did not use the sweet rice flour because I couldn’t find it, so I used cornstarch instead and it worked very well. For anyone wondering, about 300 to 325 F is the perfect temp for the oil, I used my candy thermometer to check it. Great recipe overall, thanks!

  4. quseio pennsylvannuia joined 12/11 & has 2 comments

    would you forgive me if i get someone else to make chicken ?:) There is a place nearby that makes incredible fried chicken, they high pressure fry it. and it i so juicy mmmmmmm

    i was thinking of bottling the sauce for myself

  5. franklkt Malaysia joined 11/11 & has 4 comments

    I cooked this dish twice and it was delicious~~ Thank you Maangchi for this wonderful recipe!!! Love ya cooking so much…

  6. igarci18 Mexico joined 11/11 & has 3 comments

    Last keekend I made this recipe, and I’m thinking to do the same for next weekend, did not find hot peper paste or flakes, I use mexican red hot peper, same flavor, thank you,
    thank you.

  7. chef Benedict Manila, Philippines joined 11/11 & has 45 comments

    this is the best fried chicken ever. fried chicken in a Korean way, also i first tasted it on an international food sampling on international family fun day at the school of my best friend’s kids. in a Korean booth. Later on I made my own version instead of chicken its fish. it was cooked on a same way which i served on my mother’s birthday. Where I served this dish. And it becomes a family favorite dish and first one to be finished. It becomes a new favorite.

  8. JG1 U.S.A. joined 12/08 & has 3 comments

    I made this for dinner tonight. I didn’t have rice flour so I used Tapioca flour which is also super fine like rice flour. I didn’t have potato starch so I used potato flour. I had no rice syrup so I used honey. Otherwise I followed your measurements and cooked everything exactly the way it was shown.
    The chicken looked just like yours! It was so delicious! The whole family loved it! I will definately make this again. Hopefully next time I will have the exact ingredients to use so I can see if there is a flavor difference.
    Thank you again for another delicious meal!

  9. xine manila joined 11/11 & has 1 comment

    Hi, will plain rice flour instead of sweet rice flour work for this recipe? Thank you it looks absolutely delicious

  10. liefdego Sydney joined 11/11 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi.. Thanks so much for the recipe. My bf and me love it so much. So tasty!!! Cant stop eating it! Will make another run very soon 

  11. MrsKorea Montreal joined 7/11 & has 3 comments

    OMG sooo good!! I am glad I cooked this :D My husband is Russian and he just LOVED it!! i am gonna make it for my in laws and see how they react to it :D!!!! THank you xxx

  12. DolPakSa Portland, Oregon joined 8/11 & has 2 comments

    I have made this now twice in the past two weeks and everyone who tries it loves it! It is the closest thing to An Nam chicken by Korea University in Seoul that I’ve had, I love it. Thank you for all these great recipes.

  13. Give Thanks Indonesia joined 8/11 & has 7 comments

    Hi Maangchi…
    This fried chic is easy to make & the important thing it’s tasty!
    Now it’s become my family fav, my kids even love it!

    I substitute the vinegar with red wine vinegar since only that I have in hand :)

    I posted the yangnyeom-tongdak here : http://elieslie.blogspot.com/2011/07/yangnyeom-tongdak-seasoned-fried.html

    Tq again for the recipe!;)

  14. Mesha31 Vriginia joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    I made this today. I did not use alot of the hot pepper paste my mother does not like spicy food. It was so good I’m gonna be cooking more of your dishes!!

  15. deggkanan New York joined 7/11 & has 3 comments

    Hi, there! I’m making rice cake soup, tomorrow because I usually make my family spicy food, but they can’t really handle the Korean hot pepper paste. So, I was wondering! For someone that can handle about a mild-spice taste, would this be too spicy? They always complain my food comes out too spicy, but I love it that way D:

    Oh! And I would like to thank you very much for your website! I’ll be ordering all three of your cookbooks soon!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,767 comments

      Are you sure your line ” I’m making rice cake soup” is right? Rice cake soup is non spicy and the recipe is here: https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/ddukguk

      If you like to make non-spicy yangnyeom tongdak, I suggest using soy sauce(just a little amount) instead of hot pepper paste in the recipe.

      Or make dakkangjeon (sweet and crispy chicken) and skip crushed hot peppers in the recipe. https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/dakkangjung

      Happy cooking!

      • deggkanan New York joined 7/11 & has 3 comments

        Ah, yes I know it is nonspicy, I’ve had it in restaurants before, and I meant that usually I make my family spicy food, but since they think it’s too spicy even when I dull the recipe, I’m making rice cake soup so they don’t complain, haha! And okay, thank you so very, very much! I will try out both recipes quite soon!

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