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Korean Popcorn Chicken

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Crispy double-fried Korean Popcorn Chicken glazed in a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce will be your new fried chicken recipe you can easily make at home!

korean popcorn chicken dakgangjeong with tteok

I once went crazy for this Korean Popcorn Chicken when this menu came out in Indonesia. Undoubtedly the greatest feature of this chicken is that it stays crunchy for hours out of the fryer. It tastes good eaten plain, but even so much better with the sticky, sweet, and spicy gochujang glaze.

Korean Popcorn Chicken is probably one of the best fried chickens I have ever had, even until now. For years, I thought this was magic, an impossible feat to make the perfect crispy fried chicken that keeps its crunchy texture after the sauce is applied. It turns out so easy and I can’t wait to share the recipe with you. Are you ready to indulge yourself in this crunchy and sticky Korean Popcorn Chicken?

What Is Korean Popcorn Chicken?

Korean Popcorn Chicken is also known as Dakgangjeong (닭강정) in Korea. “Dak” means chicken and “gangjeong” is a type of traditional Korean confectionery, made with deep-fried rice puff and coated with honey followed by nuts, seeds, and beans. In short, dakgangjeong is the chicken version with a similar concept of deep-frying and coating with sticky syrup.

The menu is a deep-fried crispy chicken coated in a sweet and spicy gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste) sauce. In Korea, this dish is a very popular street food dish. You can buy chicken with bones or boneless for Korean Popcorn ChickenNevertheless, the boneless one has become very popular in Korea. It is sold and served with a paper bowl and disposable forks for convenience.

korean popcorn chicken dakgangjeong with tteok

The Secret of Crispy Korean Fried Chicken

When it comes to chicken there just isn’t anything more delicious than a juicy, crispy piece of finger-licking good fried chicken. It might seem intimidating to fry your own chicken, but it’s actually pretty straightforward 

  • Cornstarch/Potato Starch. If you want very crisp, crunchy skin on your fried chicken, toss your chunks of chicken with cornstarch or potato starch. They are great as the thickening agent for sauces and soups, and are commonly used in Asian cooking for stir-fries. You can use either one in most recipes and wind up with very similar results. Starch helps the chicken brown easily on the outside and stay juicy inside.
  • Double Frying. The difficult part of frying the chicken is how to achieve a crispy and crunchy coating while the inside is cooked through at the same time. The situation may either the chicken ends up being overcooked or still raw by the time the batter becomes golden brown. Double frying the chicken will make sure to fully cook the chicken without burning the outside coating. After that, you need to rest the chicken on a cooling rack or a paper towel-lined baking sheet to wick away some excess grease. Cool the chicken for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the chicken juice to redistribute throughout the meat. That’s how you get the crust that keeps its crunchy texture after any sauce is applied.
korean popcorn chicken dakgangjeong with tteok

More Korean Recipes

While you are here, don’t forget to check out more Korean recipes from my blog!

korean popcorn chicken dakgangjeong with tteok
4.8 from 5 votes

Korean Popcorn Chicken

Crispy double-fried Korean Popcorn Chicken glazed in a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce will be your new fried chicken recipe you can easily make at home!
Author: Jaja Bakes
Course: Main, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 4
Tap or hover to scale!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Additional Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5.3 oz (150 gr) frozen or fresh Korean rice cakes
  • Oil, for frying

Fried Chicken

  • 17.5 oz (500 gr) thigh chicken fillets, cut into bite-size
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 0.4 inch (1 cm) ginger, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (120 gr) cornstarch/potato starch

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp gochujang/Korean chili paste
  • 5 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Garnish

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Finely chopped scallions/green onions
  • Crushed nuts

Instructions

  • If you are using frozen rice cakes, submerge them in warm water for 20-30 minutes or until they soften. If you are using fresh rice cakes, skip this step. After submerging them, make sure to pat them dry with paper towels. Cut them into 2-inch/5cm long. Set aside.
  • In a big bowl, marinate chicken with rice wine, ginger, salt, and black pepper for at least 30 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients until well combined.
  • Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and pour about 1 inch of oil. When the oil is hot enough, coat a piece of chicken with starch evenly and slide the coated chicken pieces into the hot oil. You can fry the chicken into two batches to prevent overcrowding your pan. Cook until light brown, turning over a few times for even browning.
  • Remove from oil and set them on a cooling rack. Turn off the heat, and let the chicken cool down for a few minutes.
  • Reheat the oil and fry the chicken again until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove from oil and set them on a cooling rack. Turn off the heat, and let the chicken cool down for a few minutes.
  • Remove the oil from the pan and clean with paper towels. Heat the pan over medium heat and add about 2 tbsp cooking oil. Add rice cakes and cook until the outside is crispy and golden brown.
  • Pour in the mixed sauce and cook with low heat until it starts to bubble. Add the fried chicken into the sauce and stir well until every piece is evenly coated.
  • Remove from the heat and transfer the coated chicken to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, scallions, or nuts if desired.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 620kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 858mg | Potassium: 395mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this many times now after tasting Korean popcorn chicken at an Asian tapas restaurant and wanting to try for myself.
    This recipe is super-simple and delicious and I cook the chicken in my airfryer to reduce the fat – works a treat!
    I also have halved or quartered the chicken thighs instead of turning them popcorn size and used them as sliders with homemade cheat “brioche” buns and Korean coleslaw.
    I leave out the rice cakes.