A popular street food adapted for home cooking, pair Korean popcorn chicken with hot rice for a delicious meal.
Spicy, sticky and crispy, there are two secrets to good Korean popcorn chicken: coat the chicken very lightly with starch then fry twice. The second frying adds that lovely crackle with every bite.
Korean Popcorn Chicken (Dakgangjeong)
For the sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili paste) available in Asian groceries
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Marinate the chicken
- Wipe the chicken fillets with paper towels then cut into bite-size pieces.
- Place the cut chicken fillets in a bowl, add the ginger powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and mix well.
- Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Toast the sesame seeds
- In an oil free pan, spread the sesame seeds and cook, tossing often, until browned and glistening with their natural oil.
- Move the sesame seeds to a plate and set aside.
Double fry the chicken
- In the same pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Toss the marinated chicken in starch and shake off excess.
- Working in batches, deep fry the chicken over medium heat (about 300F) for three to four minutes. Scoop out and spread on a rack (they will appear pale at this point but that's fine).
- Turn the heat up to high until the temperature of the oil reaches 350F.
- Dump all the chicken in the hot oil and fry for two to three minutes until nicely browned and crisp.
- Scoop out the chicken and spread on the rack once more.
Glaze the chicken
- Pour off the oil from the pan and pour in all the ingredients for the sauce.
- Boil the sauce, uncovered, until thick and sticky, and the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Dump the chicken into the sauce and toss to coat each piece evenly.
- Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the chicken and toss a few more times to distribute.
- Serve the Korean popcorn chicken as a snack or with rice as a main course.