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.

Advertisement

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)

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

268 Comments:

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

    Maangchi,
    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. LANEIGEgirl joined 2/10 & has 2 comments

    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 4 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

    Hi,
    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:

    https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/yangnyeom-tongdak
    1/2 cup potato starch powder, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour,
    1/4 cup sweet rice flour, and 1 egg.

    https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/dakgangjeong
    1/2 cup of starch powder, 1/2 cup of flour, and 2 eggs

    https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/tangsuyuk
    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 11,701 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?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,701 comments

      Yes, you can skip sweet rice flour. Any type of vinegar will work well, too. Starch powder (potato, sweet potato, or corn) will make chicken more crunchy.

  14. danowen st andrews west, ont, canada joined 8/12 & has 1 comment

    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!

More comments to read! Jump to page: 1 4 5 6 7 8 10

Leave a Reply