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Spicy Korean Stir Fried Chicken:
Dak Galbi

What's The Big Idea?

I like spicy food. But I also like most of my internal organs! The original recipe for this dish called for 2 tablespoons chilli powder and 2 tablespoons "Gochujang", which is a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment. Traditionally, gochujang was made by adding powdered red chilli peppers, salt and glutinous rice powder to soybean paste, and aging this paste under the sun. Sometimes sugar, honey or some other sweetening agent is added. The result is a dark, reddish paste with a rich, piquant flavor. Now to me, 2 tablespoons of chilli powder and 2 tablespoons of what is essentially chilli paste sounded a little excessive, not to mention the fact that gochujang isn't easy to get hold of, unless you happen to live near an Asian supermarket (if you do, it is often labelled "Korean Chilli Paste").

However, on further investigation I discovered that the chillies used in both Korean chilli powder and gochujang are of a very mild variety - full of flavour, but not too much heat. As an alternative to gochujang if you can't get hold of it, I'd therefore recommend trying paprika. It may not be authentic, but if you use cayenne or hot chilli powder your insides may never forgive you!

Remember to leave time for marinating this dish.

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
  • 1 small sweet potato, cut into thin strips
  • 150g of cabbage, cut into thin strips
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 120ml chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons mild red chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang or paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil

What To Do

  • In a large non-metallic bowl, mix together chicken stock, chilli powder, gochujang or paprika, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and sesame oil
  • Add the chicken and vegetables. Mix this all together, cover with cling film and leave for a few hours to marinate in the fridge
  • When you are ready to eat, simply tip all the contents of the bowl into a wok and stir fry for around 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked
  • Serve with boiled rice

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