Dakgangjeong is a South Korean dish made with twice-fried chicken that is battered in corn or potato starch and covered in a sweet and spicy soy sauce glaze. Using starch as a batter and frying the bite-size pieces of chicken twice gives dakgangjeong a distinct crispiness that lasts even after being coated in sauce.
Dakgangjeong’s small size and low price make this a popular street food in South Korea. Outside of South Korea, it is easy to find in Korean food trucks or restaurants. This dish is a perfect snack to enjoy while drinking or you can make it a meal by adding sides such as rice and a kimchi salad.
Depending on the cook, which part of the chicken is used and how it is cut will change. Some people believe it is best to use large chunks from a whole chicken, such as entire legs or wings. Others believe it is best to cut the chicken meat into bite-size pieces, creating chicken nuggets. As long as frying times are adjusted to accommodate the size of the chicken, however, the cut of the chicken does not matter.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Fried chicken has become a staple in South Korean street food and in South Korean restaurants around the world. However, fried chicken dishes such as dakgangjeong have not been around for long.
Fried chicken was introduced during the Korean War of the mid-20th century when American soldiers made it on military bases throughout the country. Since that time, South Koreans have taken fried chicken as their own, adding their traditional spices and flavors to make unique variations of a simple concept. Dakgangjeong is a sweet and spicy example of this, named after ‘gangjeong’, a fried sweet snack made in a similar way.
- Chicken wings - 3 ½ lb
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Black pepper - ½ tsp
- Ginger, minced - 1 tsp
- Potato or corn starch - ⅔ cup
- Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp
- Garlic, minced - 4 cloves
- Dried red chili peppers - 3-4
- Soy sauce - ¼ cup
- Rice syrup - ½ cup
- White vinegar - 1 tbsp
- Brown sugar - 1 tbsp
- Sesame seeds, toasted - 1 tbsp
- Vegetable or Peanut Oil
- Prepare your chicken wings. Cut off the sharp ends of the wings.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the wings in the seasoning– salt, pepper, and ginger. Use your hands to massage seasoning into the chicken.
- Now, in a separate bowl, pour out your corn or potato starch. Press each wing into the powder, applying some pressure and massaging the wings to ensure an even coat.
- Now, prepare your oil to fry. Pour 3 cups of oil into your wok and set to high heat. Allow the oil to heat for about 8 minutes.
- After 8 minutes, test the heat of your oil using the chopstick method. Set the end of a wooden chopstick into the oil. If bubbles begin to form around the chopstick, then your oil is ready.
- Place the wings carefully into the frying oil, one by one. Fry for 10-12 minutes, flipping every few minutes.
- Take the wings from the oil and let drain in a strainer for a few minutes, allowing it to cool.
- Repeat steps 3-7 again for the second fry. Reuse the same oil from before and ensure it has reached a hot enough temperature again before placing the wings back into the oil. The second fry might take longer, about 12-14 minutes, to ensure a perfect crunch.
- During the time of the second fry, prepare your sauce. Heat your wok over medium heat, adding two tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Add minced garlic and dried red chili peppers. Make sure to cut the chili peppers into 4-5 pieces before adding.
- Stir the peppers and garlic until aromatic. Add vinegar, soy sauce, and rice syrup.
- Stir occasionally for several minutes, until the sauce begins to reduce. After 3-4 minutes, add your brown sugar and stir again. Let cook for another minute or two.
- Add the chicken to the sauce and stir to coat evenly. Remove from heat and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 799Total Fat: 54gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 1376mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 3gSugar: 14gProtein: 36g
Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.