Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Korean/ Recipes

Dakgalbi – Korean Chicken Stir Fry

21/09/2022

Dakgalbi is the perfect easy weeknight dinner recipe or entertaining meal with friends. Once marinated in its flavour-packed gochujang sauce, cook up this spicy Korean chicken stir fry in just 15 minutes!

Korean spicy chicken stir fry in cast iron pot, topped with melted cheese.

Why We Love This

We love the juicy chicken, chewy rice cakes and melty cheese in this deliciously spicy stir fried Korean chicken.

This dakgalbi recipe is super adaptable to make use of a range of veggies from the fridge, and leftovers can be frozen or turned into dakgalbi fried rice.

Top view of Dakgalbi in a pan, ready to eat.

What is Dakgalbi? 

Dak-galbi (닭갈비) is a type of anju (Korean food served alongside alcohol such as soju or beer). It first became popular in the Chuncheon region of South Korea.  

This spicy Korean stir fry features bite size pieces of chicken marinated in a spicy gochujang sauce, stir fried with garaetteok rice cakes, cabbage, carrot and sweet potato. 

At dak galbi restaurants in Korea, the dish will be cooked on a large frying pan on the table in front of you. It’s a great way to relax and have fun with a group of friends while watching the ingredients cooking away in the pan.

If you manage to make it through most of the huge serving of stir fried chicken, you can have freshly cooked rice stir fried through the leftovers to finish off the meal. 

Today’s dakgalbi recipe is a home cooked version of this restaurant speciality, finished off with its iconic cheese strip melted across the centre. It’s up to you if you want to cook it at the table with friends, or keep it simple and cook it on the stove.

Related:Tteokbokki Rice Cake Stir Fry / Tteokkochi Rice Cake Skewers

What You’ll Need

For the marinade:

  • Gochujang / Korean Hot Pepper Paste – One of the key ingredients in budae jjigae! While it is spicy, it has more of a well-rounded, sweet tomato flavour rather than just pure chilli heat. (Note: You can buy an extra hot version if you want!). It’s available at Asian groceries, well stocked supermarkets in the international aisle, or online. If you can’t source it, you can make a paste out of regular red chilli flakes mixed with sugar and a dash of soy. Use 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes for every tablespoon of gochujang required. 
  • Gochugaru / Korean Red Chilli Flakes – It may also be labelled as Korean hot pepper powder. Most brands have clear packaging so you can see the product inside (which is important). Ideally you should buy the flakes, NOT the powdered version. Look for it at Asian supermarkets or online. Sub with half the listed amount of cayenne pepper or regular chilli powder.
  • Cooking Wine – You can use Korean rice wine (cheongju), Japanese rice wine (sake) or Chinese style cooking wine (shao xing) depending on what you have on hand. Find them at Asian supermarkets or even online. Sub with dry sherry, mirin or a splash of dry white wine if you have those on hand instead.
  • Other Seasonings – You’ll also need garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar.

For the stir fry ingredients:

  • Chicken – Use boneless chicken thighs for extra juicy and tender chicken pieces that really soak up the flavours in the marinade. You can also use chicken breast if you prefer. Sub with beef or pork strips, or diced firm tofu for a vegetarian version.
  • Garaetteok (가래떡 / Korean Rice Cakes) – These are the chewy cylindrical rice cakes you’ll find in other Korean dishes like tteokbokki. We usually buy them frozen from our local Asian supermarket.
  • Cabbage – Wombok or napa cabbage is preferred, otherwise just use any variety you have on hand. 
  • Other Veggies – Carrot and sweet potato diced into chips around 5cm / 2 in long, and finely sliced spring onion / green onion. You can use regular potato instead of sweet potato, but allow extra cooking time if you do. Feel free to use up other veggies out of the fridge if you need!
  • Perilla Leaves (Optional) – The flavour of fresh perilla leaves is like a combination of mint and anise. Pop a handful of shredded perilla on top while cooking, or serve the whole leaves separately to use as wraps.
Ingredients laid out for Dakgalbi.

How to make Korean Chicken Stir Fry:

  1. Mix together the gochujang, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, gochugaru, sugar and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the diced chicken and stir well to make sure every piece is well coated in the marinade. Cover and pop in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 mins (or overnight for more flavour!) 
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large flat-bottomed frying pan or cast iron pan over a medium high heat. Layer in the cabbage, carrot, sweet potato and rice cakes. Top with marinated chicken, allow to cook for a minute or two, then reduce the heat and stir fry until cooked through. Tip: You can cover with a lid to steam the ingredients and help the sweet potato and chicken cook through faster. 
  1. Keep an eye on the ingredients and stir regularly to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom or sides of the pan. After about 10 minutes, take off the lid to allow the sauce to thicken. 
  2. Once the chicken is cooked through, garnish with spring onion and sprinkle grated cheese down the centre. Once melted, the dak galbi is ready to eat!

Optional: Serve with fluffy white rice and/or lettuce leaves to wrap.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Cast Iron – For best results, cook this Korean chicken stir fry in a flat bottomed pan. It’s traditionally cooked in a dakgalbi pan, but we used a 15 inch cast iron pan which works a treat! Cast iron works well to keep the dish cooking, and keep everything hot once the heat is turned off. Make sure to run the oil around the pan (bottom and side) before cooking to stop the ingredients from sticking.
  • Cook Together – If you have a portable induction cooker and an induction suitable frying pan, or an electric frying pan, this dish is fun and easy to cook right on the table with friends and family. It’s so entertaining and a great way to enjoy delicious food and fun conversation together. But you can also just as easily cook it on the stove and portion out into individual bowls. 
  • Serve as Wraps – Wrap small scoops of dakgalbi in lettuce or fresh perilla leaves. Serve with fresh or pickled garlic, pickled onions and ssamjang dipping sauce!
  • Storage – Leftovers will last 2-3 days in the fridge in an airtight container, or can be frozen for 2-3 months.

FAQs

Should I marinate the chicken first?

Marinating the chicken overnight will bring much more flavour to the finished dish. But it’s not essential – if you’re in a rush or just want dinner on the table quickly, you can get away with 30 mins marinating time. 

What should I serve with dakgalbi?

At restaurants, the dish is usually served with fresh perilla or lettuce leaves, garlic and ssamjang sauce to wrap up the dakgalbi. At home, we love having small bowls of rice and pickled daikon to munch on through the meal.

Variations

  • Make it Spicier – Use more chilli flakes and/or add store-bought or homemade kimchi for an extra spicy hit!
  • Make it Milder – Use less chilli flakes and gochujang. Replace with ½ tsp of chicken stock powder to give it a little extra flavour. Or use our soy sauce based Korean bulgogi sauce instead. 
  • Even More Flavour – Add 1 tsp Korean curry powder into the marinade. 
  • Dakgalbi Fried Rice – Near the end of the meal, add a cup of cooked rice, kimchi, seaweed and an egg. Stir fry until the egg is cooked through and the rice has soaked up all the leftover flavour in the pan.
Pan full of Korean Dakgalbi ready to serve on plates and lettuce leaves.

More amazing spicy Korean recipes to try next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Lifting out a scoop of cooked dakgalbi with a wooden spatula.

Dakgalbi – Korean Chicken Stir Fry

Dakgalbi is the perfect easy weeknight dinner recipe or entertaining meal with friends. Once marinated in its flavour-packed gochujang sauce, cook up this spicy Korean chicken stir fry in just 15 minutes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 537kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15

Ingredients

Stir Fry Ingredients:

  • 600 g chicken thighs diced (around 4 thighs)
  • 1/4 cabbage 2-3 cups once diced
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 1 sweet potato cut into chips around 5cm long (or 2 regular potatoes)
  • 1-2 cups Korean rice cakes (tteok)
  • 3-4 spring onion / green onion green section only, cut into 3cm lengths
  • vegetable oil for cooking

Marinade:

To Top:

  • 1 cup cheese grated, tasty or pizza cheese

To Wrap (Optional):

  • lettuce leaves small, leave as whole leaves
  • perilla leaves sliced for garnish, or leave as whole leaves
  • freshly cooked rice

Instructions

For the Marinade:

  • Mix together the gochujang, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, gochugaru, sugar and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl. 
    2 tbsp Korean hot pepper paste / gochujang, 2 tbsp garlic, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice wine, 1 tbsp Korean hot pepper flakes / gochugaru, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp ginger
  • Add the diced chicken and stir to make sure every piece is well coated in the marinade. Cover and pop in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 mins (or overnight for more flavour!) 
    600 g chicken thighs

For the Dakgalbi:

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large flat-bottomed frying pan or cast iron pan over a medium high heat. 
    vegetable oil
  • Layer in the cabbage, carrot, sweet potato and rice cakes. Top with marinated chicken, allow to cook for a minute or two, then reduce the heat and stir fry until cooked through. Tip: You can cover with a lid to steam the ingredients and help the sweet potato and chicken cook through faster. 
    1/4 cabbage, 1 carrot, 1 sweet potato, 1-2 cups Korean rice cakes
  • Keep an eye on the ingredients and stir regularly to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom or sides of the pan. After about 10 minutes, take off the lid to allow the sauce to thicken. 
  • Once the chicken is cooked through, garnish with spring onion and sprinkle grated cheese down the centre. Once melted, the dak galbi is ready to eat!
    3-4 spring onion / green onion, 1 cup cheese
  • Optional: Serve with fluffy white rice and lettuce leaves or perilla leaves to wrap.
    lettuce leaves, perilla leaves, freshly cooked rice

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Cast Iron – For best results, cook this Korean chicken stir fry in a flat bottomed pan. It’s traditionally cooked in a dakgalbi pan, but we used a 15 inch cast iron pan which works a treat! Cast iron works well to keep the dish cooking, and keep everything hot once the heat is turned off. Make sure to run the oil around the pan (bottom and side) before cooking to stop the ingredients from sticking.
  • Cook Together – If you have a portable induction cooker and an induction suitable frying pan, or an electric frying pan, this dish is fun and easy to cook right on the table with friends and family. It’s so entertaining and a great way to enjoy delicious food and fun conversation together. But you can also just as easily cook it on the stove and portion out into individual bowls.
  • Serve as Wraps – Wrap small scoops of dakgalbi in lettuce or fresh perilla leaves. Serve with fresh or pickled garlic, pickled onions and ssamjang dipping sauce!
  • Storage – Leftovers will last 2-3 days in the fridge in an airtight container, or can be frozen for 2-3 months.
  • Make it Spicier – Use more chilli flakes and/or add store-bought or homemade kimchi for an extra spicy hit!
  • Make it Milder – Use less chilli flakes and gochujang. Replace with ½ tsp of chicken stock powder to give it a little extra flavour. Or use our soy sauce based Korean bulgogi sauce instead. 
  • Even More Flavour – Add 1 tsp Korean curry powder into the marinade. 
  • Dakgalbi Fried Rice – Near the end of the meal, add a cup of cooked rice, kimchi, seaweed and an egg. Stir fry until the egg is cooked through and the rice has soaked up all the leftover flavour in the pan.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Dakgalbi – Korean Chicken Stir Fry
Amount per Serving
Calories
537
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
24
g
37
%
Saturated Fat
 
9
g
56
%
Cholesterol
 
118
mg
39
%
Sodium
 
669
mg
29
%
Potassium
 
671
mg
19
%
Carbohydrates
 
53
g
18
%
Fiber
 
5
g
21
%
Sugar
 
8
g
9
%
Protein
 
26
g
52
%
Vitamin A
 
8263
IU
165
%
Vitamin C
 
21
mg
25
%
Calcium
 
210
mg
21
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Dakgalbi - Korean Chicken Stir Fry

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Jane Minervini
    12/09/2021 at 8:20 pm

    5 stars
    I love Korean food and I enjoy cooking it at home. I made this recipe tonight and it was delicious. The cheese on top was unusual but it made the dish. I served it with some homemade kimchi which complimented the dish perfectly. Yum, yummity yum!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      13/09/2021 at 4:08 pm

      Amazing Jane! So happy to hear. I know what you mean about the cheese, when we first had it we were the same, now we’d never have it without it haha!

  • Reply
    Deb Grayson
    06/07/2020 at 7:58 pm

    Can’t wait to try this. I have everything but rice cakes. Is there a substitute? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      07/07/2020 at 4:46 pm

      Hey Deb, all good! You could add an extra potato in it’s place, or if you want something with a similar texture you could pop in some gnocchi (totally not Korean, but it will do in a pinch!). Otherwise, omit entirely and just serve it with rice. 🙂

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