Dak Galbi (닭갈비) is a spicy stir-fried chicken dish made by frying chicken pieces and vegetables in a gochujang based sauce. Many Dak Galbi restaurants have hot plates built into the table, where the dish is cooked in front of you. All the better to enjoy the delicious smells!
The sauce contains gochugaru (red chilli pepper flakes) and gochujang (red chilli pepper paste), so prepare for it to be spicy. It can sometimes use Korean curry powder, which is a premade mixture of spices. It’s also not usually served with rice but it is customary to mix rice with the leftovers at the end and make fried rice. Yum!
The dish was developed in Chuncheon in the 1960’s where it started as a small accompaniment to an alcoholic beverage. It then grew to eventually become the dish we know today.
If you want to eat the best Dak Galbi, Chuncheon is the place to go, they have a Dak Galbi alley with a large number of restaurants specialising in the food and an annual festival dedicated to the dish. The city is easy to get to from Seoul and is only about an hour away by bus. Perfect for a day trip away.
A variation of the dish is covered in delicious cheese which melts and goes all gooey and helps cool down the spiciness!
1 pound boneless (and skinless if desired) chicken thighs.
5 ounces green cabbage
1 small sweet potato, koguma 고구마 (about 5 ounces)
6 ounces tteokbokki tteok 떡볶기 떡 (rice cakes)
6 – 8 perilla leaves (Optional, can be omitted if you can’t find them.)
2 green onions
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup (or more sugar)
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red chilli pepper paste)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons water
Optional fried rice:
Two servings of cooked rice
1 tablespoon dak galbi sauce reserved
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 sheet of gim 김 (dried seaweed)
- Soak the rice cakes in cold water for 10 to 20 minutes if hardened. Skip if using fresh rice cakes.
- Mix all the sauce ingredients well in a bowl.
- Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Mix with the sauce (reserving one tablespoon if you’re going to make fried rice at the end) and marinate while preparing vegetables.
- Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise and slightly diagonally. Cut the cabbage, Perilla leaves and green onions into small pieces.
- Heat a pan over medium-high heat. You can add a tablespoon of oil if you want, but this is not necessary. Add the chicken, sweet potatoes, rice cakes, and cabbages. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat if the ingredients (especially the rice cakes) stick to the pan. The steam from the vegetables should keep them from sticking to the pan. You can also add a couple spoons of water if the pan gets too dry.
- Add the perilla leaves and green onions and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until the rice cake and the sweet potato pieces turn soft. By then the chicken should be cooked through.
Optional Fried Rice:
Add the rice to the pan along with the reserved sauce and sesame oil. Stir constantly until everything is well incorporated and the clumped up rice is broken up – about 5 minutes. Scrape up the flavorful brown bits from the pan while stirring. Mix in the dried seaweed and sesame oil.
Feature Image Source ©dakgalbi, 29.04.2018, unconventionalcooks.com