"If you’ve eaten KFC – Korean fried chicken – chances are high that the first version you tasted was the sweet and spicy Dakgangjeong or Yangnyeom. The two are very similar, but my Korean friends tell me that Dakgangjeong is sweeter and sticker, while Yangnyeom is spicier. I prefer the spicier version.
Prepare the ingredients for the sauce, but don’t start to simmer it until just after you’ve completed the second frying. The sauce coats better when it and the wings are hot."
Kung Pao & Beyond by Susan Jung (Quadrille, £20), Photography by Yuki Sugiura
Ingredients for Yangnyeom fried chicken
- 1kg chicken wings – mid-joint and/or drumette portions
- coarse salt flakes, as necessary
- 3–5 peeled garlic cloves
- 1 tsp finely ground white pepper
- 100g coating mix made with tapioca flour
- about 40ml iced water
- 20ml coconut vinegar or distilled
- white vinegar
- 770ml cooking oil
- about 120g tapioca flour
- toasted white sesame seeds
For the sauce
- 3–5 peeled garlic cloves
- 10g thinly sliced peeled ginger
- 45g gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
- 30g tomato ketchup
- 60g golden syrup
- 20g granulated sugar
- 15ml soy sauce (all-purpose Kikkoman or your favourite brand)
- 10ml sesame oil
- 10–15g gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)
How to make Yangnyeom
Weigh the wings, then multiply the amount by 0.01 – this is the amount of salt you need. Put the wings in a bowl and sprinkle the salt over them, then mix well.
Mince the garlic cloves, then add them and the white pepper to the wings. Mix thoroughly, then set aside while preparing the sauce.
For the sauce, finely mince the garlic and ginger and put them in a saucepan. Add the gochujang, ketchup, syrup, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru and 45ml warm water, then mix well. Do not cook yet; set aside.
Put the coating mix in a bowl, add the iced water, vinegar and 20ml (4 teaspoons) of the cooking oil. Whisk to make a smooth batter that’s slightly thick. Pour this over the wings and mix well. If the batter still seems too thick, drizzle in a little more iced water to create a batter that coats the wings lightly and evenly.
Dredge the battered wings in the tapioca flour, shake off the excess, then lay them on a cooling rack placed over a tray. Leave to air-dry for at least 10 minutes, then coat them again with tapioca flour.
Pour the remaining 750ml (3 ¼ cups) cooking oil into a pan, preferably a medium wok, set over a medium heat. Fry the chicken at 160ºC (320ºF) in four or five batches. Fry for 5–6 minutes, then drain on the rack placed over the tray.
After frying the last batch, fry the wings again, this time at 170ºC (340ºF) for 1 ½ minutes. Turn on the heat under the saucepan and simmer the sauce until a spatula leaves a track when you draw it across the bottom of the pan.
Put half of the freshly fried wings in a large bowl and drizzle half the sauce over them. Toss the wings in the bowl while gently stirring them, so they are lightly coated with the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, then put the wings on a serving plate. Repeat with the remaining wings and sauce.