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!


For 3 to 4 servings

For the sauce:

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


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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  1. mutiara illinois joined 5/13 & has 1 comment

    Just tried this recipe… hello… best thing ever! I saw someone asked if he could bake the chicken instead. YES! Instead of frying the chicken, I baked mine. I set the temp to 450 for 30 mins, then flip the chicken and cook for another 15 minutes. They turn out great :) thanks alot!
    I also made the sweet pancakes, they taste like cinammon rolls. Yum!

  2. irwin.s Boston joined 4/13 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi!
    I made this recipe last year for a barbeque and everyone loved it! My only problem was, what do I do with the leftover oil??? I ended up putting it in empty milk cartons and throwing it away. What should I have done with it?

    Anyway, thank you so much for always posting such delicious recipes. I love watching your videos even if I don’t want to make one you’re showing, because you’re so cute all the time! :3

  3. Kitty VA joined 4/13 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi!
    If I don’t have rice syrup, what else can I use? Can I use honey? Btw, i tried your kimchi, it was superrrrr delicious!!! Thanks for sharing so many wonderful recipes!

  4. irisvo Virginia joined 2/13 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi,
    I living in small city so I can’t find rice syrup. Can I use white sugar instead ?? If it work , how many cups I need ??? And I can’t find potato starch, too. If don’t have it, does it still ok ???
    Thank you !!! And I love all your recipes

  5. Hi Maangchi!

    Just tried making this yesterday and it turned it super well. My family and friends loved it!
    Thank you again for another successful recipe.
    With heartfelt thanks! ^___^

  6. Mattuuggi Little Rock, AR joined 1/13 & has 3 comments

    I am curious how this sauce would taste with fried chicken gizzards. I grew up in the South and loved those when I was a kid, and was really happy when I went to Korea and could have them there as well.

  7. aileen3376 Iloilo, Philippines joined 2/13 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi. We tried this recipe last Sunday. We made half of the recipe. Well, it was easy until we came to the part that we had to add an egg. How do you cut an egg in half? So we decided to beat it a little and use just half the beaten egg. The batter became crumbly though, and it did not stick to the chicken. Why is that so? Did the beaten egg make it that way?

  8. HaruPanda Nebraska joined 11/11 & has 2 comments

    This recipe is AMAZING!!! I made this on Sunday for my sister’s baby shower…and everyone loved them!! :D I made 20 lbs of wings and they were ALL gone :) Thank you for sharing your recipes with us all….can’t wait to try other recipes ^.^

  9. K-Foodie Auckland joined 2/13 & has 1 comment

    I was wanting to make korean fried dishes, especially Yangnyeom tongdak and Tangsuyuk.

    I noticed that the fry batters you use for dakgangjeong, yangnyeom tongdak, and tangsuyuk are different:

    1/2 cup potato starch powder, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour,
    1/4 cup sweet rice flour, and 1 egg.

    1/2 cup of starch powder, 1/2 cup of flour, and 2 eggs

    1 cup plus another 1/4 cup of potato starch, and 1 egg white

    I was hoping you could answer a few questions since the different batters has created some confusion:

    1. Are the different batters an “evolution” of philosophy on fry batters? Or were they from different sources?

    2. Do you have a favorite batter?

    Thanks so much,

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

      My recipes are always changeable and I have constantly been developing better recipes. Follow the each recipe it will turn out delicious because this is the best recipe I have developed so far. Someday if I develop better ratio of batter, I will post it on my website. Happy cooking!

  10. mwitulski Denver, CO joined 8/10 & has 1 comment

    We made this tonight and it was so delicious. I agree with others – the sauce is so good that you can use it on just about anything! My sauce got a little thick so I thinned it out with some Sprite. Thank you for the wonderful recipe and video!

  11. antoniasd CA, USA joined 12/12 & has 2 comments

    Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, made this tonight for my family. My husband said it was a meal to remember! I made one chicken, cut up, and made twice the sauce. Crispy, and chewy at the same time, thanks.

  12. iamrhart Namhae, South Korea joined 10/12 & has 12 comments

    Thank you for this. I made it twice now. The second time, i didn’t need all the Sauce. So i saved it, and you know, it makes a great replacement for other sauces, like if you want a Spicy Pizza, or you want a little “kick” to a burger. Also, a little ‘side’ comment, i took a couple chicken-breasts, and cubed them (about 1inch cubes), for a ‘boneless’ version. Still A+. thanks for helping put this Korean-Fast-Food dish into a recipe. :-)
    P.S. Greetings from SK

  13. JaeSeven Brunei joined 8/12 & has 3 comments

    hi,would it be okie if i just use plain flour instead of sweet rice flour?and can we just use any vinegar instead of apple vinegar?and must we use potato starch powder and baking soda?

  14. danowen st andrews west, ont, canada joined 8/12 & has 2 comments

    Would you recomend using a deep fryer rather than a wok?

  15. brookes20 California USA joined 7/12 & has 1 comment

    I have tried another recipe of this fried chicken,totally different from yours.I will defenitely try this.Thank you and I am now addicted to your site!

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