Making Dak Galbi in the USA

dak galbi

If you follow my blog, then you know I think dak galbi is the most fantastic Korean dish EVER. I love it.

I love it so much in fact, that I’ve written about why it’s my favorite, the time we drove to another city just to eat dalk galbi in its hometown, and feasting on dak galbi in Los Angeles.  That’s three posts all devoted to one dish… and here’s a fourth.

I’ve finally tried to make dak galbi at home in the US and I was successful! There were only two small flaws in my cooking experience. The first is that I didn’t get ddeok because I couldn’t find it at the Asian grocery stores nearby. I plan on making it from scratch sometime, but that will have to wait for a different day. The second issue was that we didn’t have a dak galbi pan. Usually, dak galbi is cooked on a large flat pan in the middle of a table at a restaurant. We are fairly limited right now in our cooking equipment so I did it in a deep wok. This certainly cooked everything, but I didn’t get crispy bits like I would have had I used a flat shallow dak galbi pan.

For those of you interested in making awesome dak galbi at home, here’s a recipe I created from about seven different recipes I found online. I made this for just Dave and myself. I had one serving for dinner, Dave had two. Then we had some leftovers for lunch the next day. I would say it serves four if you aren’t feeding really hungry men.

Here’s my recipe for dak galbi!

Ingredients:

dak galbi ingredients

  • About 1/2 a pound of dark chicken meat (a good handful), sliced — *Please note that I only had a chicken breast, so that’s what I used. Dark meat is much better in dalk galbi.
  • 1 onion, cut into half moons
  • 1 carrot, cut into medallions
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into thick sticks or medallions
  • 1 small cabbage, cut in large peices (2×2 inches)
  • 6 green onions (our green onions are much smaller than the ones in Korea. Theirs are more like leeks. Go ahead and cut both the white and green parts.), cut 1 inch pieces
  • Udon noodles or ramen (both are incredible in this dish), make sure your noodles are pre-cooked before adding
  • ddeok aka tteok (if you can find it at your local Asian grocery store)
  • A few Tbl vegetable oil for the pan

Sauce:gochujang

  • 2 Tbl red pepper powder
  • 2.5 Tbl gochujang
  • 2 Tbl soy sauce
  • 1 Tbl sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed (preferable Korean garlic if you can find it nearby)
  • 2 Tbl soju or sake
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 Tbl sesame  oil

gochujang grocery shopping
Shopping for gochujang can be a little overwhelming as there is usually an entire aisle devoted to it.

Directions

1. Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl.

2. Put sliced chicken in a different bowl and add about 3 Tbl sauce. Mix until chicken is thoroughly coated and marinate for at least an hour.

dak galbi marinade

3. Once your chicken is finished marinating, heat a large pan on med-high heat with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil. It’s best if the pan is large and flat to get maximum crispiness. If you don’t have a large flat pan, it’s alright, the flavor will be delicious, but you won’t get as many crunchy bits.

cooking dak galbi

4. Add onion, carrot, sweet potato, green onions, and remaining sauce to the pan. I added a little water to prevent too much sticking to the pan – this didn’t help things get crispy though. I was more concerned with having a headache cleaning the pan afterwards.

5. Once the potatoes are almost soft enough to cut through with a spatula, add chicken and cabbage. I added water to the bowl that had the chicken in it, swirled it around and added the liquid to the pan. No reason to waste all that yummy sauce.

6. Once the chicken is almost done (a couple minutes), add your precooked noodles to the pan. Stir everything together and taste test. Dak galbi is very spicy and on the sweet end.

dak galbi

When we ate it in Korea they would let everything get crispy and the pans looked like a pain to clean at the end of every meal. If you don’t mind the clean up, go ahead and let things stick to the pan and get crunchy, especially noodles and ddeok. Crunchy dalk galbi ddeok is to die for. Yummm.

**Since my first time making this at home, I’ve discovered an easy way to get crispier dalk galbi without having to buy a special dalk galbi pan. I cooked everything a little ahead of time, then once it was dinner time I added a generous helping from the wok to a hot oiled frying pan. Because there was less in the pan, more of the dak galbi was allowed to crisp up. This extra step took more time, but it made for a better dining experience.

Bonus Round

When you are finished feasting, go for round two by adding cooked rice to the dirty pan with some extra sauce. Scrape the pan to incorporate all the crunchy bits into your rice. I’ve only made it to this stage of dak galbi once before. Usually, I’ve gorged too much on the deliciousness to have any room left for rice.

Sides: This dish is typically served with a radish soup (cold or hot depending on the season), kimchi, and a slaw of some sort. You can make wraps using lettuce or sesame leaves, pickled radish slices, and dalk galbi.

Beverage Pairings: It’s best to eat this with either cold soju or a light beer.

 

This was my first time cooking dak galbi, but I have to say I think the recipe was pretty spot on. Let me know what you think! I’d love to get some feedback  🙂

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5 thoughts on “Making Dak Galbi in the USA

  1. Of course this is my first stop as I attempt to make some dak galbz! Thanks again for all your K town cooking experiments! xoxo

  2. Hello! ^_^
    I’m from Sweden and unfortunately I can’t find any ddeok anywhere, so I’m making them at home. How much ddeok do you think I’ll need to make for this recipe? 😮
    Thank you! 🙂 xx

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