Korean Fried Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

After last week's amazing Japanese Fried Chicken there was no way that I wasn't going to try this Korean Fried Chicken from Quick and Easy Korean Cookings by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee. Small chunks of chicken, marinated, dipped in cornstarch, deep fried, and coated in a sweet-spicy sauce? Sign me up.

This version begins with little pieces of chicken marinating in shredded onion and garlic. It's then coated in a super sticky batter of eggs, cornstarch, and water, and fried until crackly brown. The sauce that the chicken is coated with is a bright mix of ketchup and chile paste with sugar and lemon juice for even more sweetness and acid.

This KFC is a little gooier than others that I've tried but has the same sweet and spicy flavor that makes it almost impossible to stop eating. The combination of boneless chicken and sweet, ketchupy sauce makes it almost like a Korean-accented General Tso's chicken—totally a guilty pleasure.

Adapted from Quick and Easy Korean Cookings by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee. Copyright © 2009. Published by Chronicle Books. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:4 to 5


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 tablespoons Korean chile paste
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. 1.

    Toss the chicken with the onion and garlic and marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

  2. 2.

    Whisk the egg, water, cornstarch, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl just until moist. Do not overmix.

  3. 3.

    Over medium heat, heat at least an inch of oil in a deep heavy saucepan. Using long chopsticks or tongs, dip one chicken piece at a time in the cornstarch mixture and carefully place it in the hot oil. Repeat until the pan is almost full but the chicken pieces aren't touching. Cook until crispy and golden brown, usually about 10 minutes. To check if it's cooked through, take out the largest piece and cut to see that the juices run clear. Place the pieces on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all the pieces are cooked.

  4. 4.

    Mix the chile paste, sugar, ketchup, sesame seeds, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the fried chicken and carefully turn to coat all the pieces with the seasoning. Serve immediately.