Dakgangjeong (Korean Bapsang)
Dakgangjeong is a deep-fried crispy chicken dish glazed in a sticky, sweet
and spicy sauce. It’s traditionally made with a whole chicken that’s been cut up. However, dakgangjeong made with bite-sized boneless chicken pieces is quicker and easier to make.
The sauce is sweet and tangy with a little spicy kick from the gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste). It’s far from fiery hot, but reduce or omit the gochujang if you’d like. You can replace gochujang partially or entirely with ketchup. It’s common to use ketchup in a dakgangjeong sauce for a milder taste. You can also boost the heat level by simmering the sauce with a little bit of gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) or whole dried red peppers.
The result is crispy tender chicken that’s sweet, tangy and spicy, all in one bite.
● 450 grams boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast
● 1/2 cup milk (optional)
● 1/4 teaspoon salt
● Pinch of pepper
● 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
● 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
● 1 tablespoon rice wine
● 1/3 cup potato starch (or corn starch)
● Oil for deep frying
● 1 tablespoon soy sauce
● 3 tablespoons rice wine (or mirin)
● 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
● 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
● 3 tablespoons honey (or corn or rice syrup)
● 2 teaspoons sesame oil
● 2 tablespoons brown sugar
● 1 teaspoon minced garlic
● 1 teaspoon grated ginger
● Pinch of pepper
● 1-2 tablespoons coarsely chopped peanuts (or almonds) for garnish
Soak the chicken pieces in milk for at least two hours in the fridge. This step is optional.
Drain thoroughly. Remove any visible fat. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Mix with the salt, pepper, rice wine, garlic and ginger. Let it stand for 20 to 30 minutes.
In a pan, add all the sauce ingredients and stir well. Bring it to a boil. When it starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until it thickens slightly, about three to four minutes. Turn the heat off.
Add the potato (or corn) starch to the chicken, and mix well to coat evenly.
Add about 2.5 cm of oil to a heavy bottom pan. When the oil is sufficiently hot (180 degrees C or when it starts smoking), drop the chicken pieces in one at a time. Fry them in two batches, as overcrowding will drop the oil temperature too quickly. Cook until light golden brown, one to two minutes. Remove and set them on a wire rack or a paper towel-lined plate.
Reheat the oil to 180 degrees C. Deep-fry again until golden brown, about 30 to 40 seconds. You can do the second frying in one batch.
Heat the sauce over medium-low heat. Add the chicken and stir well until the chicken pieces are evenly coated.
By Ro Hyo-sun
For more recipes, visit www.koreanbapsang.com.