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. 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!

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