How to make delicious and authentic ‘Chuncheon style Dak Galbi’ in your home.
Dak Galbi or dakgalbi (닭갈비, Korean spicy chicken stir fry) is by far my all time favorite Korean dish. That’s probably because growing up I had this meal a couple of times a week because my parents had owned a Dak Galbi restaurant for 10+ years.
You might be thinking that I should be sick of having it for that often but on the contrary, I absolutely loved it! I considered it as my privilege. 🙂
Yes, I love Dak Galbi that much! It’s so delicious. It has meat, lots of my favorite vegetables and rice cakes and oh, the spicy sauce. The whole combination spells out ADDICTIVE to me!
I especially love the sweet flavor the sweet potato gives, I also love the crunch juicy spicy flavor the cabbage gives and lastly the aroma from the perilla leaves is seriously heavenly to me.
Dak Galbi is also special to me personally because we both originated from the city of Chuncheon (춘천). I spent my early childhood there and many of my fond adventurous memories are from there.
It also makes me think about my late dad a lot because he worked so hard at our Dak Galbi restaurant. So as you can image, it means a lot to me. It’s my soul food.
Now let’s talk about Dak Galbi more!
How to Make Dak Galbi, the restaurant way, at home
- Typically, Dak Galbi is cooked and served in a large round cast iron pan at a restaurant. And I personally think it is essential that you eat it this way because it tastes so much better! Trust me! I use this cast iron skillet (12 inch) for my cooking and it’s just perfect. But you could also use a cast iron wok instead.
- I love cooking Dak Galbi at the table (over the portable gas burner) so that we can eat it as things get ready. Typically, the cabbage and rice cakes cook the fastest and the sweet potato the last. If you were to wait until everything cooks then somethings could over cook as a result.
- Prepare some lettuce, perilla leaves, sliced garlic, ssamjang (spicy dipping sauce) to make a wrap just like you would with other Korean BBQ.
- When you are nearly finished the meal (make sure you leave some meat, vegetables and the sauce in the skillet), you can add some (cooked) udon noodles or rice and stir fry them. I typically use 1 cup of steamed rice, some chopped Kimchi, a dash of sesame oil and some shredded seasoned seaweed. Some restaurants also crack an egg over the rice but I personally prefer without it. Also I/The restaurant don’t/doesn’t normally add additional sauce to cook the noodles or rice.
The above photo shows how you should end the Dak Galbi meal. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my recipe!
(FYI, a lot of people already commented that it’s the best Dak Galbi recipe they tried and the flavor is compatible to Chuncheon style Dak Galbi. I hope you try my recipe with some confidence. 🙂 )
Ingredients for Dak galbi, 2 to 3 servings
- 500g/1.1 pounds chicken thigh fillets (you can use a whole chicken or chicken breast instead), cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 medium sweet potato (180g/6.3 ounces), cut into long thick sticks (like English chips)
- 1/2 small carrot (60g/2.1 ounces), diagonally sliced
- 1/4 small cabbage (320g/0.7 pounds), shredded
- 10 Korean perilla leaves (35g/1.2 ounces), thinly sliced
- 18 fresh Korean rice cakes pieces (175g/ 6.1 ounces), separated, if you use pre-packaged rice cakes, separate them first then soak in warm water for 10 minutes before you use them.
- Some cooking oil (2 to 3 Tbsp) – I used rice bran oil
Marinade sauce (mix these well in a bowl)
- 3 Tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 2 Tbsp rice wine
- 1 Tbsp gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp raw sugar
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp Korean curry powder
- 1/2 small onion (35g/1.2 ounces), grated or minced
- A few sprinkles of ground black pepper
* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml
**If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my 30 essential Korean cooking ingredients list!
How to Make Dakgalbi
- Marinate the chicken in the marinade for at least 30 mins. (Though I strongly recommend marinating it for at least 4 hrs and if you can afford more time for overnight for better flavored chicken. However if you are really short of time, 30 mins is OK.)
- Preheat a wok/skillet on medium high heat and once heated add some cooking oil.
- Put all the vegetables and rice cakes into the wok/skillet and add the meat on top. Cook them on medium high heat initially (until the outer layer of chicken is cooked) then reduce the heat to medium or medium low. Stir them well while it is cooking.
- If you’re cooking at the table start eating them as they get ready. Otherwise, serve when everything is cooked.
Update: The original article was posted on September 27, 2006 and it’s updated with clearer instructions and new photographs.