Korean Fried Chick’n Sandwich

Inspired by a new chicken sandwich from Shake Shack this vegan version is full of flavor! An air fried chick’n patty made from tempeh combined with an easy slaw and vegan gochuhjang mayo this a delicious sandwich!

When I saw Shake Shacks new sandwich I was instantly intrigued. However, I was jealous and knew I had to make some sort of a vegan version. I watched a lot of reviews and for the most part the thoughts were mixed. Some people really enjoyed it but others felt not that strongly about it. One complain was the kimchi slaw. Apparently, the flavor didn’t stand out enough and I understand why, gochujang paste is extremely flavorful. So, I made the executive decision to not include kimchi in this. I love kimchi but I felt it may be better to just leave it out and have a lighter slaw. I did add a vegan gochujang mayo which I found the creaminess helps to complete the sandwich.

I decided to use tempeh for this because I have done a few “chicken” sandwiches with seitan already, one in my cookbook and one recently on Instagram. As much as I love homemade seitan it can be nice to just use something already pre-made. I could’ve used a frozen chicken patty of course but I thought the tempeh could work well here. It really did. I am not the biggest tempeh fan but I will say it worked really well here. The texture is great for this and it crisped up nicely in the air fryer. If you are soy free you can use a seitan recipe or even a slab of cauliflower would work well here. Swap the soy sauce out for coconut aminos or tamari. For gluten free just use a gluten free bun along with a gluten free all purpose flour.

Air frying is my current obsession. It is so much easier than baking because you don’t have to preheat anything and I feel it gets it much crispier. So I went with using the air fryer for this recipe but if you don’t have an air fryer you can bake this. I didn’t test baking it so you may have to play around with timing and temperature a bit. I would suggest starting with 425°F (218°C) for 20 minutes and go from there, checking on it. If you would like to fry it I would suggest doing a shallow fry, using about 1/4 cup of neutral oil in a skillet and frying each side until golden.

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1 block tempeh

“Buttermilk” Marinade
1/2 cup (120ml) nondairy milk, unsweetened and unflavored
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon gochujang paste

3/4 cup (42g) cabbage blend
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Vegan Gochujang Mayo
2 tablespoons vegan mayonaise
1 tablespoon gochujang paste

1/4 cup (30g) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Gochujang Glaze
2 tablespoons gochujang paste
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 sesame seeds buns for sandwich
Cooking spray* optional


  1. Cut the tempeh block in half crosswise, so you are left with 2 squares of tempeh.
  2. Place in a medium skillet and cover with 1/2 cup (120ml) of water. Cover and steam over medium low heat for 15 minutes or until water is all gone.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the “buttermilk” marinade by combining all the ingredients in a container large enough to place the tempeh in. Mix with a spoon it will thicken up and slightly curdle.
  4. Once tempeh is done steaming and cool enough to handle place in the marinade. Coating both sides. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes or up to 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Prepare the slaw by combing the ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Prepare the vegan gochujang mayo be combing the ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. Prepare breading by combining ingredients on a flat plate. Mix together to distribute spices evenly.
  8. Once tempeh is done marinating. Evenly coat the tempeh blocks in the breading making sure to cover it as best you can. If you find the breading has turned too wet add an additional tablespoon of flour. If desired spray the tempeh with a cooking spray.
  9. Place the breaded tempeh blocks in the air fryer. Air fry for 17 minutes at 400°F (204°C) or until golden and crispy.
  10. Prepare the gochujang glaze by combining the ingredients in a bowl and mix until well incorporated.
  11. Once the tempeh is done allow it to cool for a few minutes before handling. Then brush the glaze over the tempeh blocks to coat in the sauce.
  12. Assemble the sandwich by spreading the gochujang mayo over the buns. Add a bit of the slaw on the bottom, then place a tempeh block and a bit more slaw.

Makes 2 sandwiches


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