Korean Fried Chicken (Yangnyeom Chikin)

Korean Fried Chicken

My first Korean fried chicken experience was at Bon Chon Chicken in Tribeca over five years ago. It was an epiphany not just because it was delectable, but because it was the first time that it had occurred to me that KFC could stand for something other than Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Since then, I’ve gone to Korea to have Yangnyeom Chikin (양념치킨) at the source and was surprised to find that in most restaurants there, it had a thicker batter and the chicken is covered in a thick sweet sauce. KyoChon, which claims to be the “original” Korean fried chicken has branches all over Korea as well as the US and produces my favorite Korean fried chicken today, with a thin crispy crust and spicy sauce that tickles all the right tastebuds.

Still, there are many places around the world were a request for KFC will be met by “extra crispy or colonel’s original recipe?” Since I happen to live in one of those places, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Korean Fried Chicken

For those of you that have never had it, Korean fried chicken is a totally different beast from a buttermilk fried chicken. The wings are not dredged in excessive amounts of flour, so the impossibly crisp exterior appears to be nothing but skin. After being double fried, the wings are lightly tossed in a sweet, spicy, garlicky glaze while still hot. This caramelizes the sauce on the surface of the chicken, preventing it from seeping in too deep, ruining the crispy shell. The resulting wings are fried chicken nirvana; moist savory chicken surrounded by a crackly crisp layer of skin, which incongruously co-exists with a glaze that’s the perfect blend of savory, sweet and spicy.

Together with plenty of lubricant(beer and soju for me), these wings will disappear faster than an unlocked Ferrari in Oakland.

Equipment you'll need:

Korean Fried Chicken (Yangnyeom Chikin)
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Votes: 15
Rating: 3.33
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Crackly skinned Korean Fried Chicken (양념치킨) with a fiery sweet glaze.
Korean Fried Chicken (Yangnyeom Chikin)
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 15
Rating: 3.33
You:
Rate this recipe!
Crackly skinned Korean Fried Chicken (양념치킨) with a fiery sweet glaze.
Servings Prep Time
10minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Servings Prep Time
10minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Ingredients
  • 900 grams chicken wings wingtips and drumlets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang Korean sweet chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup soju Korean liquor
  • 3 large cloves garlic grated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger - fresh grated
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • gochugaru (ground Korean chili pepper) to taste
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds - toasted for garnish
Units:
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle the salt over the chicken wings, cover with plastic wrap and leave them in the fridge for 24 hours. This not only seasons the chicken, it draws out extra moisture from the surface of the chicken making it easier to crisp.
  2. To make the sauce, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, gochujang, soju, garlic, ginger and sesame oil in a pan and boil until it starts to get syrupy. Taste the sauce and add gochugaru until it's the spiciness you want it. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove the solids. This is important as the solids will tend to clump on the surface of the chicken causing the skin to lose its crispness.
  3. Add about 2" of vegetable oil to a heavy bottomed pot and heat to 320 degrees F (160C).
  4. Take the chicken out of the fridge and use paper towels to remove as much moisture from the surface of the chicken as possible. It's important that you get the chicken very dry as it will spatter in the hot oil making a mess, and the skin won't crisp up as nicely.
  5. Sprinkle on the potato starch, and toss the chicken to evenly coat each piece with a thin layer of starch.
  6. Fry the chicken wings for 10 minutes in batches. You can actually cram quite a few wings in, as long as they are fully submerged. Transfer to a plate and continue frying the rest of the wings.
  7. Increase the heat of the oil to 375 degrees F (190C). Fry the chicken again until the wings are golden brown (about 2-3 minutes).
  8. Transfer the wings directly to the bowl of glaze and quickly toss to coat lightly with the glaze. Transfer immediately to a serving platter. If they sit in the sauce too long they will soak up too much liquid and loose their crispness.
Categories
  • http://twitter.com/leejennyjh Jenny Lee

    you took me back to my childhood with this recipe!

  • http://www.thefoodpirates.com/ Darren Tran

    God I love Korean chicken wings… Though I agree that Kyo Chon is pretty good, OB Bear in LA’s K-Town has the best chicken wings I’ve ever had in my life.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I’ll have to try them the next time i’m down there!

  • veronicaLee

    my boyfriend makes this with a light flour batter for the chicken that gives it some extra crisp. ill give this a try as well! korean fried chicken is delish!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Using a batter will make it more crispy, but I just love when the skin is so thin and unadulterated.

  • http://twitter.com/mykitchenandI Renee

    Don’t see the twitter button to share this … but this looks like a must try wing recipe to me! :)

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I’ll look into adding one:-)

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    You are killiing me with this one…I am SO drooling right now.

  • Krizia

    BonChon’s chicken almost has a pocket of air between the batter and the chicken. Does your recipe turn out this way? I’m curious as to how they achieve such a unique texture!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      The air pocket is probably due to the chicken shrinking as it starts to dry out after the skin has already formed a hard shell. I think this is more with the drumsticks than their thighs though if I remember correctly?

      • Krizia

        Interesting to know. Thanks! This is definitely more with their drumsticks than their thighs, but I’ve noticed their wings also exhibit this same phenomenon.

  • Caroline

    I made these tonight and they were fantastic! Crispy, a bit spicy and just delicious. Thanks for posting this great recipe!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Awesome! Glad you liked it!

  • mike

    I made these tonight and they were fantastic! Crispy, a bit spicy and just delicious. Thanks for posting this great recipe!

  • Sammael

    Your recipes are amazing!
    Unfortunately I live in Croatia and its hard (impossible) to find some ingredients. Can you, please, recommend substitutes for gochujang and gochugaru.
    Thank you in advance, its a pleasure to cook your dishes.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Sammael, thanks for the note! I’ve never been to Croatia (though I’ve always wanted to visit), so I’m not really sure what is available in your area. Gochugaru is red korean chili peppers that have been ground up into a powder. It’s spicy, with just a hint of sweetness and has the wonderful aroma of a ripe pepper. Gochujang is a fermented paste that’s made with gochugaru, rice, soy beans and salt. While it probably won’t be exactly the same, you could probably make some similar if you can find a good substitute for gochugaru and mix it with sugar and miso (or some other kind of fermented soy bean).

  • Jean (Lemons and Anchovies)

    I mentioned on a recent post that one of my all-time favorite chicken dishes was the Korean fried chicken at a San Francisco restaurant that my parents took me to when I was younger. I haven’t been in over 20 years but it had been on my mind recently. Your post was so timely–bookmarking this so I can make it myself. Thanks!

  • poorna banerjee

    oh, that is just GORGEOUS. I am so trying this in the weekend!

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  • Brian

    Awesome recipe! You must make KFC Wings now!!

  • carlo

    yummy im gonna try it diz week

  • Quang

    I’m going to attempt to make this for my kids, can I leave out the gochujang? Will it not taste the as good? I’m afraid it may be too spicy?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Without the gochujang, it’s going to be a different dish. This probably isn’t the most kid friendly dish. How about making this one instead: http://norecipes.com/blog/tebasaki-japanese-chicken-recipe/

      • Quang

        Thanks Marc, I’ll gonna try and make both, will let you know how it turns out!

  • http://twitter.com/PutriMatahari Putri Matahari

    Made these last night and boy were they a hit at the dinner table!! DEFINITELY will have a CIMEK (Chicken and Mekju) night soon with my roommates. Really good sauce! thanks for sharing^^

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  • Giovanni

    Is there a non-alcoholic replacement for soju or do I need to use soju? I’m 19, so I technically can’t get my hands on any haha.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      You can replace it with water. It will just take a little longer for the sauce to reduce since the alcohol burns off faster than water.

  • Phil

    Can I use sake instead of soju?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Yep

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  • anne

    hi, how can i make it non sticky glazed chicken?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Anne, I’m not sure what you’re asking. Glazing the chicken will inevitably make it a little sticky. Are you looking for a non-glazed fried chicken recipe?

  • Jpk

    Just a quick thought: The original Korean fried chicken was made by a brand called Pelicana fried chicken. Kyochon is a brand appeared around 2000 which, I admit, had a huge success, but their recipe is far away from actual Korean fried chicken.

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  • Connie Watt

    I made this today 11-16- 2013. Excellent recipe! Thank you for sharing
    !!!

  • laurie

    I go to Ann Arbor Mi to a place called Seoul street for Korean chicken wings.The wings there seem to have the sauce right in the crust,I know that sounds strange or is that what you mean by not soaking them in the sauce. They are super crisp and delish.The skin is like eating glass. Will I get the same results with this recipe.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Laurie, the sauce being “in the crust” is the perfect description for how these wings are. The key to getting the crisp skin is the double fry at the specified temperatures. it keeps the skin crisp even after being lightly dunked in the sauce.

  • engie.jp

    Love this! I bought a pack of wings couple days ago, not sure what to cook, my friend told me to cook Bon Bon Chicken. I never had one before, not sure what to expect, I browsed the internet for a recipe and stumbled on this one. No offense to the chef, I did change the ingredients a bit due to what I have at the moment. I used Cayenne Pepper instead of gochugaru, Mirin instead of Soju, Corn Starch instead of Potato Starch.
    Since there’s no way I’ll eat this on one seating, here’s what I do. After the first frying of the chicken, (when they cooled down) I put them away in the fridge. Had the sauce ready. So whenever I want to eat some more, I just need to second frying the wings and dip them to the sauce. Yummm… And you are right, the second frying is important. I tried once without refrying it, it’s not as crispy as the other. Definitely a keeper!

  • armedjester

    Hello Marc, you might be aware now that I’m in Europe. We do not have Bon Bon or even Korean places, so I tried my hand on this. It’s excellent. As usual, your instruction to pour the sauce through a sieve (?) made all the difference. I used Tapioca instead of potatoe-starch (we do not have that) and it was delicious, so very delicious. I can definitely understand, why people in the U.S. are so in love with this dish. Thank you for sharing.

  • Herr Yamamoto

    Will try these wings with Thai Mekong “Whiskey” …curious how it works

  • prince

    Tried at home but not well done .Share something else

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