Dakdoritang (Spicy Korean Braised Chicken Stew)
Dakdoritang is a Korean braised chicken dish cooked with vegetables and glass noodles in a spicy gochujang sauce. With this easy, one-pot recipe you get bold flavors, soft and hearty root vegetables, and tender chicken. It’s a perfect meal to have with just a bowl of steamed rice.
Dakdoritang (닭도리탕) is a spicy Korean braised chicken dish that is packed with flavor and delicious with a simple bowl of steamed rice. In just 40 minutes, you get moist fall-off-the-bone chicken and tender vegetables in a spicy and savory sauce that is guaranteed to warm you up on a chilly winter day. It’s also a great dish to share at potlucks.
Dak (닭) means chicken in Korean. And tang (탕) means stew. There is some controversy over dori (도리) and its origins. For a while it’s been assumed that dori comes from the Japanese word for chicken. And as a result, Koreans came up with other names such as dakbokkeumtang (닭볶음탕) and dakmaeunjjim (닭매운찜). However, more recently some suggest that dori may actually come from the Korean word dorichida, which means to “cut up.” Traditionally, a whole chicken is cut up to make dakdoritang so this could very well be true.
Dakdoritang is prepared with pieces of bone-in chicken. More authentic recipes will ask you to cut up a whole chicken into smaller bone-in pieces.
However, I like to use chicken drumsticks. You get moist and tender dark meat off one simple bone. I find it takes a bit more work to eat the meat off of chicken thighs and wings, and I’m all about convenience. The drumsticks also help create a rich and healthy sauce because of the collagen found in the joint cartilage of drumsticks.
Potatoes, carrots, yellow onions, and green onions are commonly used vegetables in dakdoritang. I’ve also seen Korean radish (mu, 무) used in some recipes.
I prefer to use Asian sweet potatoes in place of regular potatoes. They have nutty and subtly sweet taste and work well with the carrots that also naturally sweeten when cooked.
Together, the light sweetness of these root vegetables help round out the spice and heat in this dish. (If you like Asian sweet potatoes, make sure to check out this recipe!) They also make this dish hearty and warm up nicely for a perfectly cozy winter meal.
While totally optional, I also like to add some Korean green chili peppers (cheongyang-gochu, 청양고추) for an additional kick of spice and pop of color. If you can’t find these peppers at your local Korean grocery store, jalapeño or serrano peppers could also work. Just keep in mind that these Korean green chili peppers are somewhat milder in spice level.
Noodles and rice cakes
Potato starch noodles (dangmyeon, 당면) or Korean rice cakes (dduk, 떡) are sometimes added to this dish. Rice cakes tend to be the more popular option. However, I prefer using the noodles (also known as Korean glass noodles) because they soak up more of the dakdoritang sauce and are more flavorful. The chewy noodles also give the dish more variety in texture and bite. They are the same type of noodles you use to make japchae.
The sauce is made with a base of spicy Korean red chili paste (gochujang, 고추장), soy sauce, and sugar. You can add more or less dried Korean red chili flakes (gochugaru, 고춧가루) to adjust the dish’s spice level.
Some recipes will use a dashima-based stock to add more depth of flavor. Since this stock takes about 15 minutes to make, you would have to prepare this ahead of time. To save time, I instead use water with a bit of fish sauce. With the fish sauce, you still get some salty, umami flavors.
The dakdoritang sauce picks up more flavors from the chicken and vegetables as they cook and reduces into this flavor-concentrated and spicy red sauce.
Tips for making dakdoritang
- Parboil or soak the chicken in milk. This will help remove some of the gamey chicken taste and impurities from the bones. If you use milk, it will also tenderize the meat. If you choose to use milk instead of parboil, let the chicken soak for at least 30 minutes, rinse in water, and pat dry before use.
- Make sure to stir after in the first 10 minutes of simmering. This will help the chicken to not stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Cut the carrot rangiri style. This is a Japanese method of cutting cylindrical vegetables. You make a diagonal cut, rotate it 90 degrees, make another diagonal cut, and repeat this along the length of the vegetable. This creates a wedge-like shape and large surface area for absorbing more sauce and flavor. Koreans like to cut the carrot and potato into rounder shapes. However, I find it faster to use this rangiri method.
Other Spicy Korean Dishes
Mise En Place
If you make this Dakdoritang, I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag me on Instagram!
Dakdoritang (Spicy Korean Braised Chicken Stew)
- 8-10 chicken drumsticks (about 2-2.5 lb)
- ½ tbsp sesame oil
- sesame seeds (optional garnish)
- 100 g Korean glass (potato starch) noodles
- 3 tbsp gochujang
- 3 tbsp gochugaru
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1¾ cup water
- ½ tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp ginger, coin-shaped slices
- 1 Asian sweet potato, cut into 1½" chunks
- 1 medium sized carrot, cut into 1½" chunks
- ½ yellow onion, cut into 1" pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 Korean green chili peppers, thinly sliced
- 2 green onions, 2" slices
- Boil about 5 cups of water in a large pot. Add the chicken drumsticks. Once the water comes back to a rolling boil let the chicken cook for about 1 minute.
- Pour the water and chicken over a colander, and rinse the chicken with cold water. This will remove some of the gamey taste and impurities from the chicken.
- Add the parboiled drumsticks back to the empty pot. Add the 1¾ cups of water and mix in the sauce ingredients.
- Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer covered for 20 minutes. Stir after the first 10 minutes to prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- While the chicken is simmering, soak the Korean glass noodles in bowl of cold water.
- Stir the garlic, onions, carrots, and sweet potatoes into the stew. Let it simmer covered for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and the chicken is cooked and tender.
- Drain the water from the noodles. (Total noodle soak time should be about 30 minutes)
- Stir the green onions, green peppers, and noodles into the stew and let it cook uncovered for another 5 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken.
- Turn off the heat and drizzle in the sesame oil.
- Ladle some of the chicken, vegetables, and sauce into a bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately with (optional) fresh steamed rice.