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Korean style popcorn chicken (Dakgangjeong, 닭강정) is a popular Korean street snack in Korea. The boneless chicken nugget is deep fried and coated with Korea’s special sticky, spicy, tangy and sweet sauce.

  • 500 g chicken thigh fillets (18 ounces), rinsed under cold water, cut into bite sized pieces, or breast fillets
  • 150 g fresh Korean rice cake (5.3 ounces), cut in half (if you’re not using fresh rice cakes, separate and soak them in warm water for 10 mins before cutting. Pat dry with some kitchen paper.)
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup potato starch or corn starch
  • Some cooking oil , I used rice bran oil
  • 5 Tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • crushed nuts or seeds (e.g. walnut, peanut, pistachio, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, etc.)
  • finely chopped green onion – if you want the nice colour contrast

  1. Place chicken pieces into a large mixing bowl. Add the rice wine, ginger powder, salt, and ground black pepper and mix them well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate the chicken for 30 mins in the fridge.
  2. Coat each chicken piece with the starch powder thoroughly. (It’s best doing this in 4 to 5 batches so that they are well covered with the starch powder.)
  3. Pour some cooking oil into a deep saucepan/wok and heat until it reaches 175 C/ 347 F (or boiling).
  4. Deep fry the rice cakes in batches until the outer layer turns crispy (under 30 seconds to avoid possible rice cake explosion). Take them out and set aside onto kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. Repeat this with the remaining rice cakes.
  5. Deep fry the battered chicken pieces in batches until golden and cooked through (2 to 3 mins). Take them out and set aside onto kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. Repeat this with the remaining chicken. (Don’t put too much chicken in one go as it can lower the oil temperature too much.) To make the chicken extra crunchy, double fry them one more time. Set aside.
  6. Pour the sauce into a heated skillet. Bring it to boil on medium heat until the sauce thickens a little bit (1 to 2 mins). Stir constantly. Add the fried chicken and rice cakes then coat with the sauce quickly and thoroughly. Garnish with your choice of toppings (e.g. crushed nuts, seeds and green onion). Serve.
  • If you can’t find the Korean rice cakes, it’s OK to leave these out. I included them here because that’s how a Korean street food stall or a restaurant serves these popcorn chicken. If you’re leaving these rice cakes out, maybe add more chicken to match up with the sauce quantity.
  • It tastes best when served immediately after cooking. (The crunchiness of chicken is at its peak then.) However, it can be served cold as well. Any leftover meat can be refrigerated in an airtight container for the next day. It might not be as crispy as the first day but it still tastes really good!
  • For a little bit of variety, you can set aside some un-sauced double fried popcorn chicken and serve them like that. As the chicken is marinated with ginger powder, salt and black pepper during the initial process, it has a really nice taste on its own. People who can’t eat spicy food really appreciate this!
Source mykoreankitchen.com


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