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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268 Comments:

  1. JoyceWu Taiwan joined 7/12 & has 6 comments

    hello Maangchi,
    Love your recipe I try make this before.
    All my friend like this^^
    May I know if I wanna make 시리즈 the method is same like this one just dont need mix
    with sause?

  2. stormyp Liberty Township, Ohio joined 7/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,
    I love all of your recipes, my husband and I were stationed in Seoul for 4 years and I really miss the food. Your recipes really help me out, I have a question for you where did you get the indoor grill you used to make the LA galbi can you get one of those here in the states?
    Thank you!!

  3. mrs.cam Guam joined 6/12 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, thank you for this recipe! I made this tonight and it looked and tasted so good, I forgot to take a picture before the kids and I ate it all up! I will make this again for the hubby when he gets back from training. I’ll remember to take a pic then! lol. Fan for life, Mrs. Cam

  4. chubchiii ._. joined 6/12 & has 1 comment

    Hello!:) Amazing recipe! I just tried out this recipe today and it was awesome:D Just curious, i was looking at the dakgangjeong recipe and I realise that the batter for the chicken is different (for that recipe you used 2 eggs and didn’t use sweet rice flour and baking soda). How will it affect the outcome of the fried chicken?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,684 comments

      You can use either recipe for the fried chicken batter.
      I added a little bit of sweet rice flour to the batter in the yangnyeomtongdak recipe to make it slightly chewy like rice cake.

  5. [email protected] Winnipeg Mb joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for the recipe, I cook it last saturday and it taste good, it seems I’m in Korea again , this is one of the food I miss and also kimchi, I will try to make it next week, I want to visit Korea someday

  6. KerrBear New Jersey joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    I just made this tonight and HOLY CANNOLI! I have had a lot of great sauces, but I think this just became my new favorite! It was AMAZING!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this! Oh how I wish you would come cook with me! :)

  7. mel1223 kuala lumpur joined 3/12 & has 1 comment

    Ever since I stumble onto your blog while looking for tteokbokki recipe, I have fallen in love with all your recipes! The steps you shown are so easy to follow and it has always been a successful cooking attempt each time I followed through u ^^

    This dish is so mouth watering and I been craving for it for so long so I am gona try to make it real soon. Just one question – if I am unable to find Kosher salt (is this different from the normal salt we used for all other cookings?), what is the replacement for it? (I stay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, not used to seeing this term here, so not sure if I can find it)

    Thanks!

  8. faye_chen bali joined 3/12 & has 1 comment

    Thank you Maangchi! I am so going to try this recipe ^^ It’s one of my boyfriend’s (and mine, after he introduced me to korean famous two-two chicken) favourite dish. Will post the picture if I succeed!

  9. lmhjgsfever Hungary joined 1/12 & has 17 comments

    언니 감사합니다

    this was a hit with every one that tried it, it was gone in minutes thanks for another hit

  10. tantr33 Indonesia joined 8/11 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I really really love ur recipe especially this Yangnyeom Tongdak recipe :) I really want to make it but here is very difficult to find Gochujang, can I skip that or is there any alternative ingredient? Thank you so much Maangchi!! I have watched almost all ur recipes!! Keke~~ ^^ Gamsahamnida, Annyeonghaseyo!! :D

  11. yuvalerie Rockville, Maryland joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    HI Maangchi! i really love this recipe, but i think there’s a typo on step 2. I think it’s suppose to be 1 ts of ground black powder not 1 tbs.

  12. sangtran Houston, TX joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    I mom recently passed and I used to make your recipes when she was sick. It brought her comfort just like when she grew up on her old Korean farm…Your style of cooking was very similar to hers. I love this recipe! Can I make this a DAY IN ADVANCE? If so, how do you think I can reheat it without drying it out?
    Thanks!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,684 comments

      Oh I’m sorry to hear about your mom! You used to cook for her when she was sick? You are such a nice daughter!

      “Can I make this a DAY IN ADVANCE?” I wouldn’t make this dish in advance. It’s best right after making but it will be ok to make several hours in advance. If you have to make it one day in advance for some reasons, keep it in the fridge and roast it in the oven.

  13. INDO170845 Jakarta, Indonesia joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    can I use corn starch instead of potato starch?????

  14. Ryan Germany joined 7/11 & has 14 comments

    Hey Maangchi,
    I am craving for this recipe but I don’t have sweet rice flour on hand, with what can I substitute it (maybe rice flour or even plain flour) ? Another question, can I just skip the baking soda, because I don’t really like to eat something chemically (or factory-) made things, will they be still crispy and crunchy ?
    Thank you !

  15. yukialia Singapore joined 2/12 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I’ve tried this recipe, friends & family likes it..
    I love all your videos, as you teach step by step & easy to follow for me
    as i’m a beginner in cooking.
    Thank you so much for the recipes.

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