Cinnamon Is The Secret Ingredient To Make Korean Corn Dogs Magical

Those who have not yet experienced the greatness within the crispy layers of a Korean corn dog should buckle up. It's not your average hot dog on a stick. Reaching popularity in the '80s at South Korean night markets, these corn dogs are made with either stretchy cheese like mozzarella, sausage, fish cakes, or rice cakes in the center and skewered by a wooden stick. From there, it's dunked into a sticky batter and rolled in panko or other ingredients capable of creating a crispy outer layer, such as pieces of french fries or even dried ramen noodles. After being deep-fried to perfection, this stick of deliciousness is sprinkled with sugar to add some much-appreciated sweetness to balance the savory components.

Although this may have traditional corn dog lovers scratching their heads and staring at their breaded meat-on-stick option with envy, wait for the kicker. Making Korean corn dogs at home allows ample opportunity to experiment with coatings and flavors. For example, if you want a little kick to add to the final sprinkling of sugar on that crispy outer layer, consider popping in a few pinches of cinnamon. Hear us out before you throw up your hands and claim we've gone too far. Although cinnamon is commonly used in sweet dishes like apple pies, crumbles, and oatmeal, this warming spice also blends well with savory dishes. 

Why cinnamon can elevate a Korean corn dog

Sweet and savory is not a new theory; in the case of a trendy Korean corn dog, the concept relates beautifully to the balance of sugary and fatty elements in this popular street food. However, if you added dashes of cinnamon to your sugar and sprinkled the mixture on Korean corn dogs right out of the fryer, the combination would give you a little bite alongside the sweetness. It may even bring to mind another deep-fried snack: the churro. 

Found in the inner bark of particular evergreen trees, cinnamon contains the essential oil cinnamaldehyde, which is what contributes to its sweet taste. However, cinnamon gets spicier when cooked for a long time in heavier meals like curries and roasts. This is why this versatile ingredient is perfect for boosting the flavor of Korean corn dogs. It walks a tightrope of tastes that enhance the sugary elements, spice the deep-fried dough, and brighten bland panko crumbs and other neutral ingredients that create its crunchy exterior. If you use chopped pieces of sweet potato to level up the corn dog's outer crust, you might find it brings to mind a fall favorite yam side dish. The next time you want to impress dinner guests, do something fun and create a slew of Korean corn dogs — but don't forget a pinch of cinnamon for its wow factor.