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04 Jul 2022

Judy Joo’s yangnyum chicken

Judy Joo’s yangnyum chicken

Even though Judy Joo grew up eating it in America, for her, 'KFC' stands for Korean fried chicken. There are many different versions, but what they all have in common is a very thin, hard crisp coating, which comes from using cornflour instead of flour, as well as double frying.

Serves: 4
Takes: 1 hr 40 mins


For the coating
30g cornflour
2½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking powder
freshly ground black pepper
2 chicken drumsticks, 2 thighs and 4 wings (with tips)

For the barbecue sauce
3 tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
3 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
vegetable oil, for frying

For the batter
64g cornflour20g fine matzo meal
30g plain flour
2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)
1 tbsp sea salt
2½ tsp garlic powder
2½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp baking powder
90ml vodka (or any neutral-tasting 40% alcohol)
2 tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)


  1. To make the coating, stir together the cornflour, salt, baking powder and a generous amount of pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack, shaking each piece to remove any excess coating. Leave, uncovered, at room temperature for about 1 hour. 
  3. To make the barbecue sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 3-5 mins until slightly thickened. The sauce can either be served with the chicken or drizzled over it. If you prefer the latter, remove it from the heat on the early side so it’s a little thinner. Set aside; the sauce is best warm or at room temperature. 
  4. Heat 5cm of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat until it reaches 180C, fan 160C, gas 4. 
  5. Make the batter while the oil is heating. Whisk together the cornflour, matzo meal, flour, gochugaru, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and baking powder in a large bowl. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together the vodka, gochujang and 240ml water. 
  6. Right before you’re ready to fry the chicken, whisk the vodka mixture into the cornflour mixture. (Don’t do this in advance or the resulting batter may thicken too much as it sits. The consistency should be relatively thin and runny.)
  7. Working in two batches, with the legs and thighs together as one batch and the wings as the other, dip each piece of chicken into the batter, letting any excess drip off. Suspend the chicken in the oil for a couple of seconds to set the crust before letting it slip completely into the oil, otherwise, it will stick to the base of the pot. Fry the chicken for 15-20 mins, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack or kitchen paper-lined plate to drain. Let the oil return to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4 before cooking the second batch.
  8. Serve the chicken with the barbecue sauce either drizzled on top or on the side. 

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