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. scrapintogo1 United States joined 3/14 & has 1 comment

    i need to make 100 chicken wings with your recipe for korean night at my granddaughters school. can i cook during the day and serve cold that night? worried the chicken won’t be crisp.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,702 comments

      You are preparing chicken wings for your granddaughter’s school event? What an awesome grandmother! Yes, the chicken will keep being crunchy up to several hours at room temperature. You deserve to a shoulder massage from your granddaughter on the night the chicken is served. : )

  2. joyoon joined 8/10 & has 9 comments

    You guys MUST try this recipe. Truly the best fried chicken I’ve ever had (great when served with sweet Dongchimi). I made this for dinner and my Chinese husband was like, “*Gasp* ! What is this?!” I said, “Maangchi’s Korean chicken recipe!” Honestly delicious. The only thing I did different is that I mixed the dry ingredients (flours, etc.) and mixed it with the chicken. I also deep fried it for only 6 to 7 minutes depending on what I thought was good “enough” since my chicken chunks were drumsticks and different than Maangchi’s chicken sizes.

  3. thaibahts.org Thailand joined 2/14 & has 1 comment

    Hey maangchi,

    I absolutely love all your videos and recipes, thank you for all the amazing and easy recipes,I’m in love with the Korean food now. I enjoy watching you as I belong to an Asian family and i find your behavior very familiar, you are so cute and adorable

  4. SKim94 Flushing, NY joined 1/14 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi. I finally made your recipe for Yangnyeom Tongdak for the first time. It came out delicious, crunchy, and appetizing like you promised. However, I had a few problems while I was preparing the dish mainly due to my inexperience.

    I think I used really large drumsticks + wings, and struggled to check if it was fully cooked inside. in the future how long should I cook the meat if it’s too big or too small?

    While preparing the chicken before I started frying it. I noticed that the texture covering the chicken (the mixed flours, egg, etc), was a little runny compared to yours in the video. I used exact measurements so I believe it was the size of the egg I was using. Which sized eggs should I use? Jumbo? Medium? Or does it not matter that its runny?

    Lastly I heard that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been cautioning against washing poultry. What do you suggest?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,702 comments

      “how long should I cook the meat if it’s too big or too small?” If your chicken drumsticks are too large, cut them into bite size pieces. If your batter is too runny, add more starch.

  5. gomu ohio usa joined 1/14 & has 1 comment

    Best recipe I have ever tried. I skipped frying chicken and used frozen Tyson chicken strips. I blew my guests away.

    I love your site and videos. My kids are adopted from Korea and I am just a dad trying to keep them interested in Korean culture. Along the way, I fell in love with Korean food. Thanks for the awesome site!

  6. kpopmam Pittsburg, KS joined 12/13 & has 1 comment

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit. Not too spicy for my 2 year old son to have but with just enough kick that my spicy food loving boyfriend liked it too. I can’t wait to make it again!!! I will keep looking here for yummy recipes to make for my family :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,702 comments

      I’m glad to hear that you like the recipe. You must have thought carefully when you decided the level of spiciness between your 2 year old son and your boyfriend who loves spicy food. : )

  7. SUMIRA LOVE TO EAT malaysia joined 9/13 & has 9 comments

    HI MAANGCHI,
    is there other types of sauce other than this…???? teach me…..kikikikikiki

  8. SUMIRA LOVE TO EAT malaysia joined 9/13 & has 9 comments

    hi maangchi,
    i just want to know whether the sauce can be added with other things??? tom yam paste maybe, since my family love tom yam…is it harmful?, i’m afraid that the combination can be dangerous or poisonous,…

  9. chibi88 Melbourne joined 7/13 & has 5 comments

    Hi Maangchi… I’m gonna try this recipe soon.. can i replace the rice syrup with corn syrup?? because i dont hv the rice one.. and can i use tapioca starch instead of potato starch?? if yes whats the ratio?
    Thanks alot Maangchi…

  10. gladys Davao City, Philippines joined 9/13 & has 4 comments

    weeew ! so excited to cook your recipe (yangnyeom tongdak) .. im in the grocery store right now , buying the ingredients .. hehehe’ maybe i’LL cook this for dinner .. *mouth-watering* ;)

  11. gladys Davao City, Philippines joined 9/13 & has 4 comments

    hello ms. maangchi !! :)
    i am a fiLipina particuLarLy from davao, hope you know the pLace ;)
    it’s hard for me to find a rice syrup and sweet rice flour ..
    so , what can i use instead ? :)
    PLEASE ………
    i’m dying to cook your recipe ……
    Thanks ms. Maangchi :)
    GodbLess :))

  12. rnbrat41 USA joined 9/13 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, thank you so much! I’m absolutely addicted to yangnyeom tongdak. I think I make this every week. Luv it! Luv it!

  13. michaelmwu Mountain View, CA joined 8/13 & has 1 comment

    I made this for my family and my Korean roommate and they loved it! My roommate even said he liked it better than 본촌 치킨

  14. Pink Washington, DC joined 6/13 & has 2 comments

    I made this recipe this weekend & my family & I loved it. Thank you for sharing!!!!

  15. garydeuslutes Canada joined 6/13 & has 1 comment

    is there anything that i can use instead of the hot pepper paste? not good with hot spice.. BTW i tried your Japchae and it is great! :) thanks for ur vids!

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