Sweet & Spicy Chicken | Kkanpoongi (깐풍기)

Late September into early October is my favorite time of year. I love the crisp fall breeze, the changing leaves, and the cozy comfort food. I'm getting geared up to make lots of soups and stews and sauces. As much as you'd think the freezer gets a workout in the summer (holding gallons upon gallons of ice cream), it takes a more strenuous hit in the cooler months because I like to make huge batches of soups, ladle them into containers, and then pop them in the freezer to eat for weeks and weeks.

And, even though I despise the shortening of the days (because it makes it that much harder to photograph my dinners for the blog) I am loving the cozy scarves and boots that I get to chuck on every morning. We've also gotten past swimsuit season (although I'm going to Grand Cayman in November so I've still got to be a little watchful) so I feel a lot less guilty about eating hearty, not-so-good-for-you fried foods and today's post falls right into that category.

This sweet and spicy (and a little bit sour) chicken is typically eaten as an appetizer or side dish with jjajangmyun. But, it also makes a delicious star of a meal too. The chicken is crispy and coated in a delicious sauce and it looks pretty impressive whilst being a cinch to whip up.
crispy chicken
1½ lbs. chicken thighs, cut into chunks
⅔ cup potato starch
1 egg
¼ cup water
oil for frying

sweet & spicy sauce
1 tablespoon oil
½ onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon minced ginger
4 Thai chilis, split
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
½ cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple vinegar
3 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Start by prepping the ingredients for the sauce. The sauce itself is really quick to whip up; the prep takes longer than the cooking. So, grate some ginger (I keep my ginger in the freezer and grate as I need it), mince garlic, slice open some Thai chili peppers, dice up an onion, and chop up some scallions. This is also a good time to make the slurry. Stir together the cornstarch with the soy sauce and vinegar.
Next, get the chicken ready. Grab a big bowl and toss in chunks of chicken. Crack in an egg, pour in some potato starch, and drizzle in a little water. Use your hands to massage the ingredients together until the chicken is coated in a light batter.
Heat some oil to 350F and fry the chicken (in batches if your pot is small) until golden brown and crisp. Drain the chicken on a paper towel-lined plate to wick away the excess oil.
Once the chicken is done, work on making the sauce. Heat a big skillet over medium and add some oil. Toss in the garlic, ginger, onions, and Thai chilis and cook until the onions are soft. Pour in a little chicken stock and then toss in the hot pepper flakes, add in the corn syrup, and then stir in the slurry.
The slurry will thicken up the sauce really quickly.
Pour the sauce right over the pile of chicken and then garnish with some sesame seeds and the chopped scallions.
To add a vegetable (and healthy) element to the meal, I also made some bok choy kimchi. I used the same technique and basically the same ingredients as my baby kale kimchi except I left out the peppers and onions (mostly because I thought the base of the bok choy added plenty of crunch).
I love this chicken. The sauce is super savory and sweet and spicy and tangy; it's pretty complex in terms of flavors but not at all difficult to make. It's delicious with a bowl of rice, as an appetizer, or even as a snack. I would make this on a Saturday afternoon to quell the pre-dinner munchies.
Here's the recipe page:


  1. Oh, that look interesting.
    Also, I write about traveling on www.asequibles.wordpress.com , can we do follow for follow? :)


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