Korean Spiced Chicken :: Dak Galbi (닭갈비)

Sorry there was no recipe last week, folks! I was visiting Sweden with my sweetie O for midsummer — it was great seeing his friends and family, and getting to eat all that wonderful Swedish (and Korean!) food. Now I’m back and even more committed to cooking at home and trying to save some money in the process. ;) 

Before I left for vacay, I had some friends over for dak galbi, or Korean spiced chicken. I can’t even begin to tell you just how much I ADORE this dish — basically a mix of marinated chicken, assorted veggies and rice cake. The best part comes at the end when you mix in some rice and create that heavenly layer of crispy nooroongji (much like paella’s soccarat) that forms from the residual heat of the pan. Ahhh, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! 

Dak galbi joints are usually peppered around busy university areas, as it’s a popular and affordable student food. It’s also very convivial, as you eat ’round a large tabletop skillet, taking turns mixing everything up. Cold beer and even colder soju are often good friends of this dish. :) I love dak galbi so much that I finally decided to give it a go at home. And you know what? It was really easy and REALLY good! 

I love any opportunity to use my tabletop electric skillet. My mom got it more than 10-15(?) years ago at some expensive Japanese supermarket; and to this day she will try to get me to cook something in it to make it worth her purchase. Silly umma

I modified a great recipe from one of my favorite Korean blogs, Aeri’s Kitchen (what a sweet girl!), to serve a larger group. I scaled back a bit on the curry her recipe calls for, made some other measurement alterations, and used a mix of chicken breast and thigh for variety. Oh, my rice cakes are not the ones normally used in dak galbi joints — usually you see the longer, cylindrical logs; but I wanted to get rid of my smaller sliced stash. Whatever works!

Dak Galbi (serves 4 well) – adapted from Aeri’s Kitchen (thanks!)
For the chicken:
– 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts & 3-4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, sliced into bite-sized pieces
– 1 TB cooking wine or sake
– 1 tsp minced garlic
– pinch of pepper

For the sauce:
– 2 TB gochugaru, or Korean red pepper flakes
– 4 TB gochujang, or Korean red pepper paste
– 1 tsp curry powder
– 1 TB garlic
– 2.5 TB soy sauce
– 1 TB sugar
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 2 TB cooking wine or sake
– 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Other ingredients:
– 3 scallions, chopped into 1″ pieces
– 1 onion, sliced into thin half moons 
– 1/4 large cabbage, cut into small chunks
– 1 sweet potato or yam, sliced into thin half moons
– 1/2 c. water
– 1 TB canola or vegetable oil
– 1 TB sesame oil (+ more for the rice later)
– sprinkling of sesame seeds
– 2 bowls of rice, room temperature or warm (you can also use cooked plain ramen noodles if you prefer)
– optional: handful of shredded mozzarella (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! It’s all the rage in Korea.)
– optional: fried egg to put on top of rice
– optional: shredded unseasoned gim, or dried laver seaweed

1. Combine the cut-up chicken with its ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Prepare the sauce: combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl.
3. Add 3 TB of sauce to the chicken; stir to combine. Save the rest of the sauce for later. 
4. Prep your veggies. 
5. In a heated pan or electric skillet on medium, add both oils. Add the cabbage, sweet potato/yam, onion and rice cakes.
6. Top the veggie pile with the marinated chicken. Add the 1/2 cup water to the pan so as not to get dry.
7. When water starts to boil, add the rest of the sauce to the pan, saving 1 spoonful for the rice later.* Stir, stir, stir. You might want to lower the heat a bit at this point to low. Don’t worry if you see some parts sticking — that’s a good sign! :D
8. When the chicken is almost done, add the scallions and sesame seeds. Start eating!
*9. The fun rice (or noodle) part: when there’s just a handful of chicken and veggies left, turn the heat back to medium, adding a bit more oil if necessary. Add 2 bowlfuls of rice , the gim, some more sesame oil and the final bit of sauce. Mix around with a wooden spoon or rice paddle, creating a single layer in the pan. I chose to fry an egg on the side and put it on top of the rice on one half; on the other half, I added some shredded mozzarella cheese to melt into the rice. (in this case, cover the pan to let it steam/melt). Turn off the heat and let the crust on the bottom form. Enjoy the rice with spoons (much easier than chopsticks)!


30 Responses to “Korean Spiced Chicken :: Dak Galbi (닭갈비)”

  1. 1 Christina Kim @ Deglaze Me June 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I love your blog!! I am always to happy to get a new Korean recipe. My umma would be proud! I don’t think my mom ever made dak galbi, but it sounds damn good to me. And I love the noorongi at the end. delicious!!

  2. 2 Mu-ji-gae July 1, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes! I happened by your website while I was looking for a chicken juk recipe but your other recipes are making me hungry!
    I love dalk galbi and I have made it at home a couple times… mmmm
    I can’t wait to make it for my family when I go back to Canada for a visit :)
    Keep the recipes coming! I want to learn how to make all the delicious things I am eating in Korea!

  3. 3 jiye July 1, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    good memories of dak galbi-ing around seoul…

  4. 4 KickinFamily August 26, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    I just GOTTA quit reading your blog between meals… Mmmmmm :)

  5. 5 Patty January 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I don’t remember sweet potato/yam in my dak galbi. I visited in the summer, if that makes a difference.
    I will try this recipe however, as I really miss this dish. In fact, we ate it so much that we were tired of it when we left.

    • 6 eatyourbap January 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm

      Hi Patty,

      Thanks for visiting! Each dak galbi joint may differ slightly, but Korean sweet potato (=goguma) is often included in the mix. Goguma in Korea is almost always white with a red skin (rather than our orangey/yellow version), so try it next time you make dak galbi. :)

      PS: Don’t forget to slice it thinly — it tastes great caramelized in the pan!

  6. 7 Dan February 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Great site with great recipes, especially this one! I tried it myself and it was quite delicious!

  7. 9 CB November 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Thanks for the easy to follow directions and pictures. I lived in Korea for six years and love Korean food, but I never learned to make any. Now I’m going to try all of my favs! Thanks for bringing back so many delicious food memories and empowering me to make my own.

  8. 10 Jill December 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    This is the food I miss most from Korea! Thanks for the recipe. I live in Turkey now, so I won’t be able to get all the ingredients (like the rice cakes) but I’m going to try to make it anyway.

  9. 11 Ebro Bullicer February 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm


    I usually cook for some of my co workers and get extra orders from other employees. Thanks to your site i can let them taste this recipe. i hope it would come out right… :)

  10. 12 J-Mac June 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    This recipe is the best/most clear cut and accurate sounding I have found online thus far. I lived in Chuncheon years ago, which is home of Dak Galbi, and have been longing for it ever since. I havent tried making it yet, but after reading this I will surely do so.. I live in Houston and I’m hoping to find the ingredients at a Korean/asian grocer. Just in case could you recommend any online stores that would sell them? mainly the Gochujang and ddak/tteok/ rice noodles.. Thanks for the amazing recipe, I will be sure to let you know how it turns out! To all whom haven’t tried Dag Galbi, you don’t know what you’re missing!

    • 13 eatyourbap June 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      Hi J-Mac – thanks so much for your comment! I’m flattered – and envious you’ve been able to try the real deal in Chuncheon!

      I am fortunate enough to get my groceries at the markets here in NY, but I hear a lot of people have had luck with Amazon… I wonder if H-Mart sells online? Please just google ‘Korean groceries online’ or something similar. I wish you luck and please do let me know how everything turns out! :)

  11. 15 Chile Peppers August 22, 2011 at 9:29 am

    This is so clear…I can actually understand it! I’m hoping to make it very soon! It sounds a little difficult but it also sounds like fun! I am glad of this site…because I really needed a site I could trust for this recipe!

  12. 16 Simret Zeru October 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    This recipe looks excellent! I’ve been making dak galbi with varying degrees of success ever since leaving Korea in 2009 – will definitely give your recipe a shot

  13. 17 Joey December 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    #1 result when searching 닭갈비!
    I tried, quickly to help my brother’s chicken, tasted good and spicy but not quite 한식-y kk

  14. 18 Joey December 18, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Or maybe not. Still.
    I miss 누룽지!!

  15. 19 ebwassink June 3, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Thanks for this great recipe! It tasted almost as good as at our favorite local restaurant here in Seoul.
    We noticed that the ddeok wasn’t listed in your “other ingredients” list. How much would you recommend using?

  16. 20 JK_wai August 26, 2012 at 12:55 am

    what kinda curry powder you use ?? :( ….
    or any curry powder it good ???

  17. 21 ashleylaurence November 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Reblogged this on Ashley's World and commented:
    Miss 닭갈비 so much… So excited to finally have it since being back in Canada for almost a year!

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