Spicy Korean Fried Chicken

(maeun yangnyum chicken)

Spicy Korean Fried Chicken
Spicy Korean Fried Chicken
This image courtesy of Hyegyoung K. Ford

KFC anyone? Korean fried chicken is now world-famous, even though those three letters are generally associated with another type of fried chicken. But who wouldn’t love the sticky, finger-licking deliciousness of crisp chicken wings slathered with a spicy sauce? Yes, these wings are spicy, but they are worth every bead of sweat they might inspire. Korean-style fried chicken is often served with a cold beverage, such as beer or a carbonated drink. In fact, it is often referred to as chimak, which is a combination of the English word chicken and the Korean word for beer (maekju). Go on an adventure next Friday evening after work with these hot chicken wings and a cold drink to recover from your hectic week, just as the Koreans do.


  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons (33 g) Korean chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon (6 g) Korean chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) sweet rice wine (mirin)
  • 3 tablespoons (39 g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (40 g) apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
  • Chicken
  • 3 pounds (1.4 kg) chicken party wings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pureed fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sweet rice wine (mirin)
  • Peanut oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 cup (128 g) cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) finely chopped walnuts, for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, toss the chicken wings with the salt, ginger, black pepper and rice wine; set them aside for 15 minutes.

  2. Prepare the sauce. Grate the onion on a fine cheese grater and place it in a small pot. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix well. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes; remove it from the heat and set it aside.

  3. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F (175°C).

  4. Put the cornstarch into a large, resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken wings to the bag and shake well to coat them evenly. Remove the wings from the bag, shaking off the excess starch. Working a small batch at a time, deep-fry the wings until they’re pale golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal strainer, remove the chicken from the oil and give each piece a little shake to remove any excess oil. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel–lined plate and let them sit for 5 minutes.

  5. Return the first batch of chicken to the pot for the second deep-frying and cook until the wings turn slightly dark golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Finish the rest of chicken wings in the same method.

  6. Using a pastry brush, brush the wings with the sauce and sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Cook's Tip

If you want to try a more exotic flavor, try adding 2 teaspoons (4 g) of curry powder to the chicken when you marinate the wings. It adds another layer of piquancy and goes really well with the chili paste.


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