Dak Galbi (Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken)
In this dish, bite-sized pieces of savory and spicy chicken are stir-fried with cabbage, sweet potato, and other vegetables. Leftovers can also be used to make some quick and delicious fried rice.
Dak Galbi Marinade
The spicy marinade for dak galbi (닭갈비) is made with a base of gochujang, gochugaru, and soy sauce. Sugar is also used to add a bit of sweetness and to round out the savory flavor. Some people even like to add curry powder. I like adding curry powder since it gives the dish another kick of spice and adds depth of flavor.
Perilla Seed Oil
I used to only make dak galbi when I had some fresh perilla leaves at hand. This is a key ingredient that really brings the dish together. Freshly chopped perilla leaves are usually stirred in at the very end after the chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Since H-mart is the only place where I can find perilla leaves here in Chicago, it wasn’t easy to make this dish on a whim. I’ve tried making it without perilla leaves, but it just wasn’t the same.
That’s when I thought of using perilla seed oil (들기름) as a substitute. With a drizzle of this oil over the dak galbi, you are able to get that similar earthy and nutty flavor. You still need to purchase this from an Asian grocery store, but once it’s in your pantry it’s not hard to get the other ingredients for this dish at any regular grocery store. I get my perilla seed oil from Kim C Market.
At restaurants in Korea, you’ll often see this dish prepared on a large grill pan over a gas stove right at your table. After piling on some chopped sweet potato, cabbage, carrots, and marinated chicken, they cook it all together and then let you dig in while it’s still sizzling hot on the grill.
Sometimes you may see this dish cooked with white rice cakes or even melted mozzarella cheese. Lettuce, perilla leaves, and ssamjang are also typically served so that you could make vegetable wraps with the dak galbi. When I’m feeling a bit lazy, I skip the vegetable wraps and just eat the dak galbi with some rice.
Dak Galbi Fried Rice
At the end of the meal, you can choose to add some white rice and crushed, roasted seaweed to the leftover dak galbi on the skillet and make some delicious fried rice. In my version, I like to use basmati rice for its subtle flavor and texture. I also like to top it off with some melted truffle gouda cheese. The truffle taste, surprisingly, pairs well with the nutty perilla notes and savory sauce. This is my favorite part of the meal and sometimes I go straight to making the fried rice.
Dak galbi (닭갈비) originated from a city about an hour outside of Seoul, called Chuncheon (춘천), back in the 1960s. The Korean name for this dish is a bit confusing. Dak (닭) means chicken in Korean. This part makes sense. But galbi (갈비) means ribs, and there are no chicken ribs in this dish. Instead, the name has to do with its origins. Dweji galbi (돼지갈비, pork ribs) is a dish made with pork (돼지, dweji) ribs (갈비, galbi) and a similar sauce. Since pork ribs were expensive back in the day, someone decided to make dak galbi with pieces of chicken.
MISE EN PLACE
If you make this Dak Galbi 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!
Dak Galbi (Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken)
- 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 120 g carrots, sliced diagonally (about 1 carrot)
- 215 g japanese sweet potato, peeled and sliced into thick matchsticks (about 1 potato)
- 200 g red cabbage, chopped (about ½ small cabbage)
- 70 g green onions, cut on the bias (about 5 green onions)
- 180 g yellow onion (about ½ onion)
- drizzle perilla oil
- canola or sunflower seed oil
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp gochujang
- 3 tbsp gochugaru
- 1 tbsp garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
Optional Ssam (vegetable wrap)
- perilla leaves, washed
Optional Fried Rice
- ¼ cup marinade, reserved
- 4 cup basmati rice, cooked
- roasted seaweed sheets, crumbled
- ¼ cup truffle gouda cheese
- Prepare the marinade by mixing all of the ingredients, and use a ¼ cup to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes in the fridge (overnight is better).
- Add the carrots and sweet potato to a large, lightly oiled skillet over medium heat.
- Add the marinated chicken to the center of the pan and let it cook on each side for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir the vegetables from time to time to prevent ingredients from sticking to the skillet and burning.
- Add the cabbage, onion, green onions, and a ½ cup more of the marinade. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces using kitchen scissors. Stir often and cook for another 5 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are cooked through.
- Drizzle some perilla oil and serve immediately with white rice (and optional vegetable wraps and ssamjang).
Optional fried rice
- Add the basmati rice and the remaining reserved marinade (about ¼ cup) to the pan of leftovers and cook over medium heat, stirring often for about 5 minutes.
- Lower the heat, and add the crushed roasted seaweed sheets. Stir to evenly incorporate the ingredients.
- Top the fried rice with the shredded cheese and let the cheese melt before turning off the heat. (Covering the pan with a lid for a couple minutes will help the cheese melt faster.)
- Serve immediately.