Dak Galbi (Spicy Chicken Stir Fry)

Dak galbi is another spicy, stir-fried chicken dish that all Koreans seem to love. The main difference between this and other spicy dishes is the addition of cabbage and usually perilla leaves, giving it a distinct and satisfying aroma. In Korea, there are many dak galbi restaurants/quasi-bars that set up a single, large frying pan in the center of the table for everyone to enjoy the meal together (Koreans literally love eating together). For people familiar with this, you will know that you are not completely finished with the meal when the pan is empty, but rather an ajumma (or waitress) will add some rice and other ingredients to make delicious bokkeum bab (fried rice combinations). It’s kind of equivalent to getting something free when least expect it. Anyways, we made this tonight and it came out just right.

Here are the basic ingredients for dakgalbi (spicy chicken stir fry)

Add some oil and then the chicken pieces on medium-high heat.
Throw in all the sauce ingredients early to get the chicken more flavor.
When the chicken pieces are thoroughly browned, add the tteok (rice cake) and sweet potatoes.
Slice up the cabbage and perilla leaves. Add more or less depending on preference.
Add the cabbage lettuce and leaves and you’re almost done.
Top with sliced scallion and serve hot with rice on the side.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 people


  • 2, 3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts or thighs, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups tteok (rice cake)
  • 6, 7 perilla leaves (kkaetnip), cut into strips
  • 3 scallions, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/4 large cabbage, cut into strips
  • 1, 2 sweet potato, sliced round
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine (Mirin okay)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 4 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds


1. Cut chicken pieces into bite-size pieces.
2. In a large non-stick pan, add 1 tbsp oil and add the chicken pieces. Cook on medium-high for a few minutes until lightly browned.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add to the frying pan. Cook until chicken pieces are well coated.
4. After slicing and dicing the vegetables, add the cabbage, sweet potato, onion, and rice cakes with the chicken pieces. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the sweet potatoes loses its original color.
5. Next add the sliced perilla leaves, cabbage, and scallions (save some for garnish). Cook until they wilt or soften. Also, if the sauce seems to be drying up, you can add more water.
6. Serve with rice and garnish with roasted sesame seeds and scallion strips.

*As mentioned early, in Korean restaurants (and now at home too) it’s common to add some more rice, gim (dried seaweed), and sesame oil to the remaining sauce in the pan. Mix it together well and this will provide a great, last bite to your meal.


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