Dak Bulgogi, Korean Spicy Chicken:
Where ever there is spicy food, you shall find me cooking from that cuisine. Korean Hansik which means ‘Korean food’ is becoming popular in the world as a healthy cuisine because it includes fermented foods and assortment of grilled meats, rice and vegetables in a meal. And most of the recipes have a big punch of flavour and metabolism boost from fiery chillies.
Bulgogi means “fiery meat” in Korean. It doesn’t refer to the fire from chillies but to the cooking method as it is traditionally cooked on open flame. It is one of the earliest references of cooking meat on skewers. The dish is known to have originated in Goguryeo
era ( 37 BC – 668 AD). Originally marinated beef is used to make the dish but Dak Bulgogi or Chicken Bulgogi has become very popular world wide as a variation for those who are not big fans of red meat.
The staple ingredients of this recipe are soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and sugar. Some recipes add crushed pear, apple or pineapple juice and onion purée as to make meat tender and juicy. Some cooks make it super hot with lots of red chilli peppers added to the recipe and others add just a pinch of black pepper. So really the choice is yours which way you want to take your Dak Bulgogi. You can imagine mine was towards the hot side with 2 teaspoons of red chilli flakes and a pinch of black pepper.
A popular variant of Bulgogi is pan cooked instead of grilled, something you can cook in minutes in the comfort of your own kitchen regardless of what the weather is outside.
You can enjoy it as a Ssam ( wrap) rolled in a lettuce leaf with steamed rice and some sweet and spicy sauce or fermented soybean paste dribbled or serve with grilled or steamed vegetables over a bowl of steamed rice. I add carrot strips, broccoli, cabbage or mushrooms to my Bulgogi usually to make it a more wholesome meal.
1/2 kg boneless chicken
1 medium onion
5 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger
2 teaspoons red chilli flakes
4 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
A pinch black pepper
Salt if required
1 tablespoon sesame oil
A stalk spring onion
This Is What You Do:
Peel, core and cut the pear into cubes. Peel and slice the onion.
Add pear, onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli flakes, soy sauce, white vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and black pepper to a blender and make smooth marinate. Salt is optional because we already have salt in soy sauce.
Cut the chicken into bite size cubes or thin strips. Coat the chicken pieces with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Peel the carrot and cut thin slices. I use my vegetable peeler to make even and very thin slices. Set aside.
Lightly grease and heat a nonstick skillet or frying pan on medium high heat. Reserve the marinade and add the chicken pieces. Cook for 2-3 minutes till the chicken begins to look slightly charred and caramelised.
Add the marinade and sliced carrots. Cook another 2-3 minutes or till the carrots are still crunchy, chicken is cooked through but still moist.
Serve hot with steamed rice or wrap in lettuce leaves with ssamjang( Korean spicy paste) or your favourite chilli sauce.