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Soy Garlic Korean Fried Chicken – Dakgangjeong (Extra Crunchy)

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This soy garlic Korean fried chicken (dakgangjeong) is the ultimate Korean fried chicken experience – together with its spicy fried chicken version. Bite-sized boneless chicken thighs are coated with a crunchy batter and smothered in a mouthwatering garlic and soy glaze. Top it off with chopped peanuts to add some crunch and a nutty flavor that will take your fried chicken to the next level!

soy garlic korean fried chicken

Korean fried chicken is hands down one of the most addicting things in the world!

If I think about it, I probably don’t know one single person who does not love Korean fried chicken – dixit a person not into fried food aka myself 🙂

There’s something hugely addictive about the crunchy batter coated with a glaze full of umami flavors. In Korea, you can easily buy fried chicken anywhere, but outside Korea, it can be harder to find. So when I was in Belgium, I created my own recipes, and introduced Korean fried chicken to friends and family who had never had it until then. Trust me, one single bite and absolutely everyone fell in love with it!

What is dakgangjeong?

Dakgangjeong (닭강정) is one type of Korean fried chicken. It’s usually made with bite-sized boneless chicken that is deep-fried twice for extra crispiness and then coated with a sticky sauce.

The term “dakgangjeong” is a combination of “dak” (닭) meaning chicken and “gangjeong” (강정) meaning a type of crunchy and sweet traditional Korean snack that is fried and coated in a sticky sauce.

In Korea, there’s also another type of chicken which is called yangnyeom chicken (양념치킨). In comparison to the latter, dakgangjeong sauce is thicker and more sticky since it often includes brown sugar and corn syrup. Dakgangjeong is also much crispier than yangnyeom chicken, which is why it is my favorite out of them both.

You’ll see different dakgangjeong flavors, but this soy garlic sauce and its spicy version are the main two varieties which you will find everywhere, in fried chicken restaurants, at street food stalls, etc.

soy garlic korean fried chicken piece picked up by chopsticks

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE

  • Crunchy for more than a few hours. Often, dakgangjeong will remain crispy for a few hours however. In this recipe, I’ll show you a technique that allows the batter to remain crispy even after being refrigerated and until the next day.
  • Homemade fried chicken mix recipe. The premade Korean fried chicken mix makes your batter taste incredible. However, in case you can’t find it anywhere, my recipe explains you how to make it at home.
  • Crowd-pleaser. Korean fried chicken is a popular dish that is loved by many, making it a great choice for parties and gatherings where you want to please a large group of people.
  • Unique. Korean fried chicken offers a unique flavor profile that is different from traditional fried chicken dishes from other parts of the world.

Korean Fried Chicken vs. REgular Fried Chicken

You’re probably wondering “why would Korean fried chicken” be that different from regular fried chicken? Here are all the reasons that set Korean fried chicken apart:

  • Double frying – unlike traditional fried chicken, which is usually only fried once, Korean fried chicken (both dakgangjeong and yangnyeom chicken) is double-fried. This results in a super crispy exterior and juicy, tender meat on the inside. The first fry partially cooks the chicken and sets the batter. The second fry gives the chicken its signature crispy texture and deepens its golden color.
  • Coating– Korean fried chicken is typically coated in a mixture of flour and cornstarch which gives it an extra crunchy texture. This is different from regular fried chicken, which may be coated in flour or breadcrumbs.
  • Sauce – dakgangjeong is typically served with a sweet and savory sauce made from ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, and brown sugar. This sauce adds a lot of flavor and complexity to the dish.
  • Seasoning – dakgangjeong is often seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper before it is coated and fried. This gives the chicken an extra boost of flavor and enhances the overall taste of the dish.

Ingredients

  • boneless chicken thighs – ensure you use boneless chicken thighs for a juicy and tender chicken. Do not use chicken breast as this will result in a much drier chicken.
  • garlic – season the chicken with garlic.
  • salt and pepper
  • Korean fried chicken mix – one of the keys that makes Korean fried chicken so tasty is the Korean fried chicken mix which is made of flour, cornstarch (for more crispiness) and a mix of spices (for that incredible kick of flavors you can taste in the batter).
  • frying oil – I usually fry in an old pan (don’t use your expensive everyday pan to fry since frying in a pan will take off the non-stick coating of your pan) but you can use a fryer.
  • unsalted peanuts – peanuts make this incredible fried chicken crazy good! Make sure you use unsalted peanuts as salted peanuts will make your chicken way too salty.

batter

TIP: For the batter, I use fried chicken mix/water ratio of 1½:1. This way, you’ll get a thick batter that will result in a thicker coating around your chicken bites. This is one of the two keys I found to keep my fried chicken crispy, not for a few hours, but until the next day. However, if you prefer a thinner batter, you can use a 1:1 ratio. Though, note that this will result in a slightly less cripsy batter.

soy garlic sauce

  • garlic – for this recipe, I used frozen Korean garlic which I find milder in taste. If using fresh garlic, use 2 tablespoons instead of 3.
  • soy sauce – use regular soy sauce. Make sure not to use dark soy sauce neither sweet soy sauce.
  • rice vinegar – rice vinegar adds a tangy flavor to the sauce.
  • brown sugar – don’t substitute with white sugar. Brown sugar adds a caramelized flavor to the sauce.
  • mulyeot (Korean corn syrup) – Korean corn syrup can be substituted with Korean oligo syrup but do not use Western corn syrup which has a different flavor and won’t yield the same result.
soy garlic fried chicken ingredients

HOMEMADE KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN MIX

Can’t find premade Korean fried chicken mix? Here is how to make your own mix with basic ingredients that you can find in any supermarket (or already have at home). Simply mix together:

  • 300g / 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 70g / ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • ½ tbsp black pepper powder
  • ½ tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp onion powder 
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg powder

For more details on this recipe, you can check out my Korean Fried Chicken mix post.

How To Make Soy Garlic Korean Fried Chicken?

Make the sauce

  1. In a bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients together.

Prepare the chicken

  1. Cut the chicken into small bite sizes (depending on how big you want them)
  2. Season the chicken pieces with minced garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. In a big bowl, mix the Korean fried chicken mix with water.
  4. Add the chicken bites to the batter and coat the pieces well. Then drop the chicken pieces in a large container filled with fried chicken mix, close the lid and shake it well to coat all chicken pieces with the fried chicken mix (Note 2). Do this per batch according to the size of your container.

TIP: Coating the batter with extra Korean fried chicken mix is the second tip I found to make the batter extra crispy and keep the crunchiness until the next day.

soy garlic korean fried chicken step by step 1

Fry the chicken

  1. Heat up some cooking oil in a pan or a fryer. Fry the chicken at 160°C / 320°F for about 6 minutes or until ¾ cooked (Note 3). Do this per batch as all the chicken will not fit in your pan/fryer, plus your chicken bites may stick to each other if overcrowding your pan/fryer. Remove the chicken from frying oil and place it on a rack lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  2. Increase the heat to 180°C / 360°F. Use the double frying method: fry the chicken a second time for 1 minute. Do this per batch also. The chicken should be golden brown. Since everyone has a different stove, and chicken may fry at a different speed according to your stove, cut one piece to check if the chicken is cooked inside. If not, fry it again a little longer.
soy garlic korean fried chicken step by step 2

Toss the chicken into the sauce

  1. In a pan, pour the sauce and heat it up on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and add the chicken to the sauce. Using a kitchen brush, coat all pieces of chicken with the sauce.
  2. Sprinkle crushed peanuts immediately. Don’t wait until the sauce has cooled as the peanuts won’t stick as easily to the chicken.
soy garlic korean fried chicken step by step 3

Variations

  • For a lighter coating, adjust the batter to a fried chicken mix/water ratio of 1:1. Note that this will also result in a slightly less crispy chicken. Though, the batter will still be crispy, the crunch will only last for a few hours.
  • Instead of crushed peanuts, you can sprinkle your fried chicken with sesame seeds.

How to serve this Korean fried chicken?

Korean fried chicken is often served with pickled vegetables such as Korean pickled radish to cut through the richness and add some crunch and tanginess to the meal.

Fried chicken in Korea is usually enjoyed with a beer. You may have heard of the term chimaek which is a contraction of two words: chicken and maekju (beer).

If you want to make it a full meal, feel free to also add a bowl of steamed rice.

How To Store, freeze and Reheat?

Storing

In case you have leftovers, you can store your fried chicken in an airtight container once it has cooled down to room temperature and place it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezing

I usually never freeze fried chicken since it’s always gone in one go, but also because it’s best enjoyed when it’s just been fried. However, if you’d like to freeze it, place the chicken in a zip bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months.

Reheating

Preheat your oven to 180°C / 360°F and bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes until it is heated through and crispy.

Emma’s Tips

  • The two key tips to make this fried chicken extra crispy are to make a thicker batter (such as stated in this recipe) and to coat the batter with more fried chicken mix.
  • Double-fry your chicken to make it even more crispy.
  • Use a kitchen brush to spread the sauce evenly over each chicken bite.
  • Add crushed peanuts right after coating the chicken with the sauce so that the peanuts stick to the chicken. When the sauce has cooled, the peanuts won’t stick as well.
soy garlic korean fried chicken

RECIPE FAQ

One of the particularities of Korean fried chicken is the fried chicken mix texture and taste. Therefore I do not recommend using flour only or else, you will end up with regular chicken, not Korean fried chicken.

You can. Though, note that dakgangjeong is usually made with bite-size pieces of chicken.

While Korean fried chicken is a tasty and popular dish, it is not typically considered a health food due to its high calorie, fat, and sodium content.

Preheat your air fryer to 190°C / 375°F. Arrange the chicken pieces away from one another and cook for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the chicken is golden brown.

Note that air frying the chicken isn’t the most recommended method to get an optimal result. Frying in oil still remains the best for a crunchy chicken. Cooking in the air fryer will result in a more dry, less crunchy batter.

Looking for more tasty fried food ideas?

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soy garlic korean fried chicken bite-size pieces on a white plate with chopsticks aside

Soy Garlic Korean Fried Chicken – Dakgangjeong

This soy garlic korean fried chicken (dakgangjeong) is the ultimate Korean fried chicken experience! Bite-sized boneless chicken thighs are coated with a crunchy batter and smothered in a mouthwatering garlic and soy sauce. Top it off with chopped peanuts to add some crunch and a nutty flavor that will take your fried chicken to the next level!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 875kcal
Author: Emma Choi

Ingredients

  • 500 g boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 140 g Korean fried chicken mix (Note 1) | for coating
  • a bottle of cooking oil
  • 20 g unsalted peanuts , chopped (optional)

batter

soy garlic sauce

  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 240 g mulyeot | Korean corn syrup

Instructions

Make the sauce

  • In a bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients together.

Prepare the chicken

  • Cut the chicken into small bite sizes (depending on how big you want them)
  • Season the chicken pieces with minced garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • In a big bowl, mix the Korean fried chicken mix with water.
  • Add the chicken bites to the batter and coat the pieces well. Then drop the chicken pieces in a large container filled with fried chicken mix, close the lid and shake it well to coat all chicken pieces with the fried chicken mix (Note 2). Do this per batch according to the size of your container. This step will make your fried chicken extra crunchy.

Fry the chicken

  • Heat up some cooking oil in a pan or a fryer. Fry the chicken at 160°C / 320°F for about 6 minutes or until ¾ cooked (Note 3). Do this per batch as all the chicken will not fit in your pan/fryer, plus your chicken bites may stick to each other if overcrowding your pan/fryer. Remove the chicken from frying oil and place it on a rack lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  • Increase the heat to 180°C / 360°F. Use the double frying method: fry the chicken a second time for 1 minute. Do this per batch also. The chicken should be golden brown. Since everyone has a different stove, and chicken may fry at a different speed according to your stove, cut one piece to check if the chicken is cooked inside. If not, fry it again a little longer.

Toss the chicken into the sauce

  • In a pan, pour the sauce and heat it up on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and add the chicken to the sauce. Using a kitchen brush, coat all pieces of chicken with the sauce.
  • Sprinkle crushed peanuts immediately. Don't wait that the sauce has cooled as the peanuts won't stick as easily to the chicken.

Notes

1. You can buy the fried chicken mix and all other ingredients at any Korean grocery store. You can also buy it on Amazon. However, in case you can’t find it, here is how to make homemade Korean fried chicken mix. Simply mix all of the below ingredients together:
  • 300g / 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 70g / ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • ½ tbsp black pepper powder
  • ½ tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp onion powder 
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg powder
For more details, check my homemade Korean fried chicken mix post.
2. If you prefer a lighter coating of batter, increase the amount of water to 375g / 1 ½ cup. Note that the chicken will be less crunchy as a consequence.
3. Frying time of chicken may vary depending on your stove. Adjust the heat accordingly.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 875kcalCarbohydrates: 133gProtein: 33gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 1419mgPotassium: 483mgFiber: 3gSugar: 62gVitamin A: 98IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 6mg
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