Asian/ Dinner/ Recipes

Dakgalbi with Cheese – Korean Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

12/06/2020

Featuring succulent pieces of Korean spicy chicken stir fried in a mouthwatering Dakgalbi sauce and smothered with melted cheese. Cook it on the stove, or better yet, in the middle of the table surrounded by friends.

Pan full of Korean Dakgalbi ready to serve on plates and lettuce leaves.

Why We Love This

Bring the biggest flavours of Korea to your kitchen table. Dakgalbi is a spicy chicken stir fry you can cook in just 20 minutes!

A restaurant speciality, save money and cook this one pot wonder at home. You can even freeze the leftovers or turn it into a Dakgalbi fried rice!

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

What is Dakgalbi? 

Popular in the Chuncheon region of South Korea, Dakgalbi is spicy Korean stir fried chicken usually cooked with rice cakes, cabbage, carrot and sweet potato.

The marinade has a gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) base paired with the Korean chilli flakes to give it a good heat that will warm your soul without your eyes watering.

While there are versions without cheese, we LOVE the version with the iconic cheese strip down the centre.

What You’ll Need

Cook your Korean spicy chicken in a flat bottomed pan for best results. It’s traditionally cooked in a dakgalbi pan, but we used a 15 inch cast iron pan which works a treat!

Grab any regular green cabbage, cannonball and napa varieties both work well. For the chicken, we used and recommend thighs, these work best for soaking up all that marinade flavour goodness! You can also use the breast if you prefer.

Traditionally, this recipe uses perilla leaves which carries an almost mint and anise flavour combination. We couldn’t track them down locally, but if you can – pop a handful on top while cooking or use them to wrap some of the dakgalbi in.

With the marinade ingredients, there may be a couple of ingredients you’ll need to buy or substitute:

Gochujang (Korean Pepper Paste) & Gochugaru (Korean Chilli Flakes)

These two are the stars of the dish! It’s what gives dakgalbi it’s distinct flavour and they’re very common in Korean cuisine. Gochujang is the paste, and is usually found in a red tub at your Asian supermarket or online. Gochugaru is the chilli flakes, which are milder in heat than regular chilli powder, you can also find them at an Asian supermarket or online.

Rice Wine or Mirin

A sweet style wine made from rice for cooking. You’ll find it at the Asian supermarket or online. Dry white wine or sherry will be fine to use if you can’t track it down.

Ingredients laid out for Dakgalbi.

How to make Korean Spicy Chicken Stir Fry:

For the Marinade:

Mix together the gochujang, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine or mirin, sesame oil, Korean red pepper flakes, sugar and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl. 

Now add the diced chicken and stir well to make sure every piece is coated in deliciousness.

Pop it in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 mins (or overnight for even better flavour!) 

Mixing the chicken in with the spicy Dakgalbi sauce marinade.

For the Dakgalbi:

Let’s get cooking! Heat the vegetable oil in a large flat-bottomed fry pan or cast iron fry pan over a medium high heat. 

Now create a base layer with the cabbage followed by the carrot, sweet potato and rice cakes. Pop the marinated chicken straight over the top. 

Layering the dakglabi into the cast iron pan.

Let it cook for a minute or two, then reduce the heat and stir fry until cooked through. We found that covering it with a lid helps to steam and cook the ingredients through faster, in particular the sweet potato and chicken. 

Placing lid on the spicy Korean chicken stir fry to steam it.

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 with grated cheese. Let it melt down into melty, cheesy goodness. 

Adding cheese to the Dakgalbi.

Serve with fluffy white rice and lettuce to wrap.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • A cast iron pot works well to keep the dish cooking, and keep everything hot once the heat is turned off.
  • You can cook this dish on the stove of course, but for even more fun, why not cook it in a portable electric cooker in the middle of the table for your family or friends?
  • Wrap the dakgalbi in lettuce cups, and if you can track it down pop in some perilla leaves and ssamjang sauce too!
  • If you have leftovers, portion them out with some rice and freeze it for later.
  • Run the oil around the pan and include the sides to stop the stir fry ingredients from sticking.

FAQs

What’s best to serve with Dakgalbi?

Usually fresh lettuce leaves, perilla leaves and ssamjang sauce make the perfect combination to wrap up the dakgalbi. You can also serve with white rice, or put a cup of cooked rice in any leftover mixture with some kimchi, seaweed and an egg to turn it into Dakgalbi Fried Rice.

Which cut of chicken works best?

Chicken thighs will soak up the most amount of flavour, and require the least amount of marinating time. They’ll also stay nice and tender once cooked, leaving you with spicy, juicy morsels!

How should you cook Dakgalbi?

You can cook dakgalbi on a portable cooker in the middle of the table so it can be enjoyed by the whole family. We recommend marinating the chicken overnight for this, so it’s nice and quick to prepare the dinner on the night. If you prefer, you can also just cook it on the stove in a flat bottomed pan.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Feel free to swap the chicken for beef or pork stir fry strips, or go with firm tofu for a vegetarian version.
  • If you don’t have rice wine, you can use mirin or dry white wine/sherry.
  • You can use normal potato in place of sweet potato, but allow extra cooking time. You can also use other vegetables if you have some in the fridge to use up!
  • For a milder dish, use less of the chilli flakes and gochujang. Replace with 1/2 a teaspoon of chicken stock powder to give it a little extra flavour.
Korean spicy chicken stir fry in cast iron pot, topped with melted cheese.

Make it a Korean Feast with these:

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

Spicy Korean Chicken stir fry in a pan.

Dakgalbi with Cheese – Korean Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

Featuring succulent pieces of Korean spicy chicken stir fried in a mouthwatering Dakgalbi sauce and smothered with melted cheese. Cook it on the stove, or better yet, in the middle of the table surrounded by friends.
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

Equipment

  • Medium sized mixing bowl
  • Large flat-bottomed fry pan, cast iron fry pan, or portable electric cooker

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 section only, cut into 3cm lengths
  • vegetable oil for cooking

Marinade:

To Top:

  • 1 cup cheese grated, tasty or pizza cheese

To Wrap:

  • 1 lettuce small, leave as whole leaves
  • perilla leaves optional

Instructions

For the Marinade:

  • Mix together the gochujang, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, Korean red pepper flakes, sugar and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Now add the diced chicken and stir well to make sure every piece is coated in deliciousness.
  • Pop it in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 mins (or overnight for even better flavour!)

For the Dakgalbi:

  • Let’s get cooking! Heat the vegetable oil in a large flat-bottomed fry pan or cast iron fry pan over a medium high heat.
  • Now create a base layer with the cabbage followed by the carrot, sweet potato and rice cakes. Pop the marinated chicken straight over the top.
  • Let it cook for a minute or two, then reduce the heat and stir fry until cooked through. We found that covering it with a lid helps to steam and cook the ingredients through faster, in particular the sweet potato and chicken.
  • 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 with grated cheese. Let it melt down into melty, cheesy goodness.
  • Serve with fluffy white rice and lettuce to wrap.

Video

Notes

Wandercook’s Tips
  • You can cook this dish on the stove of course, but for even more fun, why not cook it in a portable electric cooker in the middle of the table for your family or friends?
  • Wrap the dakgalbi in lettuce cups, and if you can track it down pop in some perilla leaves and ssamjang sauce too!
  • If you have leftovers, portion them out with some rice and freeze it for later.
  • Run the oil around the pan and include the sides to stop the stir fry ingredients from sticking.
FAQs
  • What’s best to serve with Dakgalbi? Usually fresh lettuce leaves, perilla leaves and ssamjang sauce make the perfect combination to wrap up the dakgalbi. You can also serve with white rice, or put a cup of cooked rice in any leftover mixture with some kimchi, seaweed and an egg to turn it into Dakgalbi Fried Rice.
  • Which cut of chicken works best? Chicken thighs will soak up the most amount of flavour, and require the least amount of marinating time. They’ll also stay nice and tender once cooked, leaving you with spicy, juicy morsels!
  • How should you cook Dakgalbi? You can cook dakgalbi on a portable cooker in the middle of the table so it can be enjoyed by the whole family. We recommend marinating the chicken overnight for this, so it’s nice and quick to prepare the dinner on the night. If you prefer, you can also just cook it on the stove in a flat bottomed pan.
Variations & Substitutes
  • Feel free to swap the chicken for beef or pork stir fry strips, or go with firm tofu for a vegetarian version.
  • If you don’t have rice wine, you can use mirin or dry white wine/sherry.
  • You can use normal potato in place of sweet potato, but allow extra cooking time. You can also use other vegetables if you have some in the fridge to use up!
  • For a milder dish, use less of the chilli flakes and gochujang. Replace with 1/2 a teaspoon of chicken stock powder to give it a little extra flavour.

Nutrition

Calories: 537kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 669mg | Potassium: 671mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 8263IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 210mg | Iron: 2mg
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 with Cheese – Korean Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

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2 Comments

  • 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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