This saucy Korean fried chicken recipe has been double fried to crisp perfection. It is sweetened with gochujang. This is the sweet and spicy version of this recipe, called yangnyeomchikin. However, you can also make it without the sauce for an incredible treat.
What is so special about Korean Fried Chicken?
Korean fried chicken is also known as “huraideu chikin” and is a Korean food that stands out from American fried poultry. It differs from other Asian fried foods like Japanese tori karaage. In case you are curious about the origins of fried chicken, it is believed that the Korean fried chicken was influenced by Americans who were stationed in South Korea in late 1940s. You can find it in restaurants and food stalls in South Korea, and in America as a snack or appetizer.
Korean fried chicken is not like American fried chicken. It has a thin crust and is double-fried for extra crunch. Today, I have had the opportunity to visit many Korean fried chicken restaurants across the US, including Bonchon (over 300 locations worldwide), Love Letter Pizza and Chicken and Pelicana (2,200 stores in South Korea).
Pelicana’s spicy sweet and spicy fried chicken was so tempting, I decided to try my hand at making it myself. I was able to find a very similar recipe after experimenting and searching the Internet for any information about their recipe. Marinating the meat is key to this recipe. It will keep it moist and tender inside. Double-frying prevents the meat from drying out.
Ingredients for the chicken and marinade
You can use either chicken wings or thighs for this recipe. I prefer skin-on chicken thighs to retain the fattiness of my skin. You can prepare your chicken by deboning its thighs and/or cutting off the wings so that the drumstick and wing are separate. This will allow you to fry evenly and eat the chicken.
In a bowl, combine the salt and pepper with the garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder and ginger powder. Add the water and white wine and mix well. The marinade will be thick and creamy, similar to applesauce. You can add more water if you need it. Put the prepared chicken in an airtight container. Pour the marinade on top of the chicken and coat it.
You will need to let the marinade sit for at least overnight. It’s possible to prepare this ahead of your meal. We found that the longer you marinate it, the better the taste. It’s fine to marinate for up to 18 hours.
Wet marinade & flour
Potato starch and double frying make this chicken crispy. Double-frying the chicken with potato starch prevents it from turning too dark. The best results were achieved when I used two-to-one potato starch to all-purpose flour.
I recommend that you remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to starting to fry. This will allow the chicken to come at room temperature without being too cold.
Combine the all-purpose flour, potato starch, salt, and water in a bowl. Stir. Use a piece of chicken to coat with the batter. Dust off any excess batter, then place the chicken on a wire rack. Continue with the rest of chicken pieces.
Double fry cooking
Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil or another neutral cooking oils in a large pot until it reaches 350F. You must ensure that the oil is hot before you add chicken.
Place the chicken in the oil slowly and do not crowd the pan. Each batch should be fried for approximately two to four minutes, depending on how large the chicken is. To ensure that the chicken reaches 165 degrees F, use an instant-read thermometer. At this point, the chicken should be pale brown and lightly crispy.
Place the chicken in a single layer on a wire rack lined with paper towels. To make it easier when I fry the chicken, I place it in sections on the wire rack. Repeat the process with the next batch.
After all the chicken has been fried, place them back in the pan for the second fry. Double-frying will make the outer layer crispy and golden. This is similar to sweet potato fries or sweet and sour pork. This is also what makes Korean fried poultry different from other varieties.
Continue to fry for two to three more minutes, or until the color turns golden brown. You should feel a difference in the hardness of chicken fried twice.
How to make the sauce?
You can make sweet and spicy sauce while you fry the chicken. This sauce is made for yangnyeom chikin. It typically contains gojuchang (fermented red chill paste) and sweetener such as rice syrup or honey, along with other spices. This sauce is usually spicy because of the gojuchang. It is available in different spiciness levels. It can be purchased at any Korean grocery store or online.
This recipe calls for sesame oil to be heated in a saucepan. Once it has melted, add the minced garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the garlic for 30 seconds. In a saucepan, combine the honey, soy sauce and ketchup. Continue to cook the sauce for one more minute, until all ingredients are well combined. This sauce is already thick so you don’t want it to boil.
Add your chicken to a large bowl. Pour half the glaze on top. To coat the chicken, shake the bowl and adjust the sauce to your taste. You can serve Korean fried chicken with a side dish of pickled daikon (chicken-mu), and some french fries. You can pair it with spicy pork bulgogi and tteokbokki. Korean potato salad and japchae.
What’s different about Korean fried Chicken?
Korean fried chicken is very different from American fried chicken. It uses potato starch as its batter to make a crispy outer layer. To create the golden brown outer layer, it is double-fried.
What makes Korean fried chicken so crispy and delicious?
Korean fried chicken has a crispy exterior due to potato starch being added to its batter and the double-frying of the chicken. The second fry helps to evaporate any extra moisture from the chicken after the first. Korean fried chicken stays crispy longer than other types of chicken, even when coated with glaze.
What is Korean fried chicken?
Korean fried chicken is known as huraideuchikin, while Korean fried chicken with sweet and spicy sauce glazes is known as yangnyeomchikin.
How does Korean fried chicken taste?
Yangnyeom, Korean fried chicken, is seasoned with a sauce that has a sweetened spicy taste with hints of ginger, garlic, and onions.
Korean Fried Chicken Recipe (Sweet, Spicy and Extra Crispy)
- 2 lb (907.2g) Chicken skin-on, deboned legs or wings/drumsticks
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tbsp ginger powder
- 4 tbsp garlic powder
- 6 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp of white vinegar
- 3/4 cup water, add more if necessary
DRY BATTER & FRYING
- Use neutral cooking oil or vegetable oil instead
- 1 c potato starch
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp sesame oils
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon gojuchang
- 1/2 c ketchup
- 1/2 c honey
- 1/4 c soy sauce
- Prepare your chicken by deboning the chicken thighs and cutting the wings in half. This will allow you to fry and eat the drumsticks and wing separately.
- Cut the chicken thighs into 1-1/2 to 2-inch pieces if you're using them. I like to ensure that each piece is covered in skin.
- Combine the onion powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder and ginger powder in a bowl. Mix the dry ingredients well with a spoon or a whisk. Mix the vinegar and water into a bowl. Whisk until everything is well combined. The marinade should be thicker than applesauce. You can add more water by adding one tablespoon at a moment.
- Add the pieces of chicken to an airtight container. Pour the marinade over the top. Each piece should be thoroughly coated. Allow it to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, and up to 18 hours.
DRY BATTER AND FRYING
- To ensure that the chicken is at room temperature, remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to frying. There is a chance that the center of the chicken may be raw if it is not properly cooked.
- Add about 2 inches of vegetable oil to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat it up to 375 degrees F.
- Combine the potato starch, all-purpose flour, and salt in a small bowl.
- One piece of chicken should be removed from the marinade. Then coat it in the dry batter. Pat off any excess powder and place on a drying rack. Continue with remaining the chicken pieces.
- Make sure that the oil temperature is at least 375 degrees F before you fry. Use tongs to carefully lower the chicken pieces into the oil. Do not crowd the pot. Depending on the size of your chicken, fry each batch for between two and four minutes. Flip the chicken over every now and again to brown both sides. To check the temperature of your chicken, use a thermometer. It should reach 165 degrees F. The chicken should be lightly browned on the outside. Place the chicken on a wire rack lined with paper towels. Continue with remaining the chicken pieces.
- Second fry: Once all the chicken pieces have been fried, remove any charred or brown pieces from your pot. I use a small strainer for this purpose. Double fry the chicken in small batches. Once the outer layer has become crispy, place them back into the oil. Cook for two to three more minutes. Dry the chicken on paper towels placed over wire racks.
- Heat the sesame oil in saucepan on medium heat. Add the garlic. After the garlic has been fragrant for about 30 seconds, reduce the heat to medium-low and then add the honey, ketchup and soy sauce. To heat the sauce, stir it and let it simmer for one minute. This sauce should not be boiled. It should simmer gently and then be heated up for chicken.
- Add the chicken to a large bowl. Pour half of the sauce on top. Mix the sauce and chicken until coated. If necessary, add more sauce.
- Serve your chicken with french fries and daikon radish pickles.