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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248 Comments:

  1. Vey Indonesia joined 6/17
    Posted July 2nd, 2017 at 10:04 am | # |

    Thank yuo so much for recipe, my mom n niece also my friends love it so much.. me too, although i must change some ingredients that i can’t find here but the taste reallyyyy yumyyyyyy


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  2. aagigas Canada joined 6/17
    Posted June 6th, 2017 at 12:39 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I’ve been loving your recipes! I just got back from 5 days in Seoul, and wanted to make this recipe for my family to show them just how great chimaek is! This tasted exactly like the huge plate of chicken that defeated me on my first night, and it was so nice to know that I’ll be able to make it whenever I want! I made up 3 pounds of wings, but forgot that that increases the amount of surface area that the sauce would need to cover. If I made this much again I would definitely double the sauce recipe!


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 9th, 2017 at 12:43 am | # |

      What a festive looking table! I feel like you remade the atmosphere of Korea at home. : )

  3. Kanenas London joined 3/17
    Posted March 26th, 2017 at 4:01 pm | # |

    Maangchi your recipes are to die for; I made a big batch tonight for my sister and her fiance and there was none left!


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  4. Yviseins Germany joined 2/17
    Posted February 19th, 2017 at 2:49 pm | # |

    can I use chicken breast too? I’m on diet and the skin is much fat.
    Do you know where to get your new book for a good price? I’m poor. Sorry

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 1st, 2017 at 9:29 am | # |

      Yes, you can use chicken breast for this recipe. Good luck! Amazon is the cheapest place to buy my book. http://amzn.to/1KaBLpV

      • Yviseins Germany joined 2/17
        Posted March 7th, 2017 at 4:09 pm | # |

        thank you!!! I love your receipts!!!!

        another question: can you tell me how to make sweet rice flour? It’s not available here.

  5. zulixia UK joined 2/17
    Posted February 8th, 2017 at 11:02 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    So glad I found your channel ^_^ ! Ever since I went to Seoul, Korean food has become one of, if not my favourite food! Everything I ate in Korea was amazing but I’ve never been able to re-create yangnyeom chicken at home, it never came out right or the sauce was wrong.

    I tried your recipe and it was AMAZING! I felt like I was back in Seoul again :) . I will try your buldak and tteokkbokki next ^^ !


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  6. John in Baton Rouge Baton Rouge Louisiana joined 12/16
    Posted February 3rd, 2017 at 9:02 pm | # |

    This looks so delicious, with the wonderful spicy sweet sauce… I’m thinking I wouldn’t limit it to chicken. I may buy some nice boneless thick center cut pork chops and cube them :)

  7. Haan Qatar joined 12/16
    Posted February 3rd, 2017 at 9:01 pm | # |

    HELLO MANGCHI CAN YOU TEACH HOW TO MAKE TTEOKBOKKI OUT OUT OF FLOUR . HERE IN QATAR IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO GET RICE CAKES PLEASE .

  8. armytransguyvirginia Wakefield, VA joined 2/17
    Posted February 3rd, 2017 at 9:28 am | # |

    Sorry meant to say I’m now retired from the US Army.

  9. armytransguyvirginia Wakefield, VA joined 2/17
    Posted February 3rd, 2017 at 9:26 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi I have been watching your videos since I was stationed at Aviano Airbase, Italy and at Camp Carroll from Jun 2013 to Sep 2014, Last night I used your
    recipe last night my company I’m not retired from the US Army is having a party today and last night I made 75 wings, they taste awesome and I’m sure will get rave reviews.

  10. sanne Munich joined 8/14
    Posted January 28th, 2017 at 8:15 am | # |

    새해 복 많이 받으세요!

    After all, it’s the year of the fire rooster… ;-)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 3rd, 2017 at 6:18 pm | # |

      Thank you, sanne! Happy New Year to you and your family, too!

  11. R Morrissey Maryland, USA joined 1/17
    Posted January 27th, 2017 at 2:08 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you so much for the recipes. those are the best fried chicken ever. everybody loves it :)


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 3rd, 2017 at 6:19 pm | # |

      wow, it looks so crunchy and delicious!

  12. Hana_Ya Los Angeles joined 11/16
    Posted November 10th, 2016 at 8:06 pm | # |

    Anyeonghaseyo!!!
    Maangchi! How would you make this spicier? More hot pepper paste? Korean Chili Flakes? Thank you for teaching me how to cook Korean food so tasty, my Korean parents are SHOCKED!

    • John in Baton Rouge Baton Rouge Louisiana joined 12/16
      Posted February 3rd, 2017 at 6:02 pm | # |

      Either (or both) would work beautifully. Wow what a spicy palate you have! LOL!

  13. BHunt87 Dover Delaware joined 6/16
    Posted September 28th, 2016 at 2:32 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!,

    I made your fried chicken recipe today for my friends and we loved it! It was so flavorful, crunchy and tasty! I’ll definitely be making this again!


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  14. ShanileM Western Pennsylvania joined 8/16
    Posted August 8th, 2016 at 4:52 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    Is it possible to make this recipe without sweet rice flour and potato starch?

    • Mayyya Romania joined 12/16
      Posted December 12th, 2016 at 6:26 am | # |

      I couldn’t find sweet rice flour and i used a mix of corn starch and normal wheat flour (000) and it was amazing. I think you can use only flour. You can try cuz why not :D

  15. qikhoo Malaysia joined 5/16
    Posted June 17th, 2016 at 8:25 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Look ! This is my 2nd time do the spicy fried chicken. My husband very love this.
    Thanks for your recipe.


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 18th, 2016 at 9:23 am | # |

      Omg it looks exactly like mine! Congratulations!

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