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How to Make Dakgalbi

October 23, 2015


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ERMIGARD one of my all time favourite recipes, finally being shared with the worrrrrllllddddd! Okay, I’m getting a little too excited about this. But it is seriously one of my favourite meals to make since it’s quick and has a nice balance of veggies and meat.

This meal is very simple to make but it does require good timing since you don’t want to overcook everything. The cooking time is about 10-15 minutes but it’s all about BAM add the veggies BAM add the chicken BAM perfectly cooked ddeok! KILL THE HEAT! GO GO GO GO! If you just dump it all in at once the veggies will turn into mush, the chicken will overcook, the ddeok will be nasty mush, the cheese will burn.

A note about cooking ddeok (rice noodles):

Like most rice noodles, it’s best to pre-soak them in hot (but not boiling) water for at least 5 minutes before cooking. They can be tricky to work with because they need water/sauce to absorb in order to cook properly, but you don’t want to water down your sauce. That’s where the cabbage, onions, and mushrooms come in. The moisture from the cabbage is especially important because it adds so much water. So even if your sauce looks too thick at first, adding the cabbage will really water it down.

If you’re a vegetarian:

-replace the chicken with TVP or setain
-change the honey for agave syrup
-gochujang is normally made without any animal by-products (some brands might use honey in them or fermented shrimp so read the label carefully
-replace the curry bullion cubes with just curry powder (be aware that some brands might use animal fat)

Serves 4 people (or 2 really hungry people…ahem…Simon and Martina…)

For the Sauce

2 tablespoons gochujang 고추장 (Korean Chilli Pepper Paste)
2 tablespoons rice wine or Mirin (味醂 or みりん)
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons gochugaru 고추가루 (Korean Chilli Pepper Flakes)
1 curry bouillon cube + 1 tablespoon of Korean yellow curry powder
(2 1/2 tbsp Korean yellow curry powder if you’re not using the bouillon cube at all)
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

The Rest of the Ingredients

2-3 chicken breasts
2 cups roughly chopped green cabbage
1 1/2 cup roughly diced green onions
1 small sweet potato sliced
1 small handful of enokki mushrooms (150g)
6 깻잎 (perilla/sesame leaves) chopped
8-10 basil leaves chopped

Optional but super delightful:

100g shredded mozzarella cheese
Sesame seeds for topping
1 cup (140g) ddeok 떡 (rice cakes)
(or, if you can’t get ddeok, 1 package udon noodles OR 1 package plain ramen noodles)

Step 1 (soften the potatoes)
Roughly chop the cabbage and slice the sweet potato into thin circles. Add a little bit of olive oil to a large skillet and add the sweet potatoes with a handful of cabbage. Cover and let the potatoes soften over medium-low heat. Let it soften for about 3 min and give it a stir to make sure it isn’t burning.

Step 2 (pre-soften the rice noodles)
Open the ddeok (rice noodles) and starting soaking in hot water.

Step 3 (make the sauce)
Take all the sauce ingredients and just dump them into a bowl. Yell BAM when you do it. Mix well. If you’re using the curry bullion, soften it first by adding a cube to 1/2 cup of boiling water and mashing with a fork until smooth.

Step 4 (add the protein)
Slice the chicken into strips and add it to the sauce. Coat the chicken thoroughly.

Step 5 (start cooking everything)
Add the sliced green onions and the rest of the cabbage to the sweet potatoes, stir. Add the chicken and sauce mixture. Coat everything, put the heat on medium-low, and put a lid on it. Set a timer for 5 minutes.

Step 6 (check for sauce thickness)
After 5 minutes, give it a stir. If it looks dry (like it’s starting to stick to the pan) add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. Stir.

Step 7 (add the ddeok + mushrooms)
Drain the ddeok and it to the mixture and coat thoroughly. There should be enough sauce that the ddeok is covered. Add the mushrooms (which will create more moisture) and put the lid on. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes.

Step 8 (check the noodles + add the herbs)
Give the mixture a big stir. It should be saucy and thick. Poke your ddeok with a spoon. If you can cut it in half with a spoon, you’re ready to add the chopped perilla leaf and basil. Kill the heat so you don’t murder your herbs and mix them in. Sprinkle with cheese and put the lid back on.

Note: If you can’t cut through the ddeok easily, cover with the lid and set a timer for 1-2 more minutes. Ddeok should be chewy and bouncy, not mushy. If your’e adding udon or ramen noodles instead, add them at this stage and follow the cooking time on the package.

Step 9 (serving)
Serve straight from the pan! Use lettuce or cabbage to wrap it up in, or just eat as is. Enjoy!

Optional Game Changer: The Cheese Rice

-Once the meal is almost finished, it’s normal at dakgalbi restaurants to add rice to the left over ingredients with cheese. If you do the cheese rice method, omit the cheese during the cooking stage. Chop up any final ingredients into smaller pieces using a spoon and add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cooked plain rice.
-Stir fry over medium-high heat rapidly, flatten to the pan like a giant pancake, kill the heat, and sprinkle on some low quality cheese.
-Cover and let it sit until melted.
-Use a spoon to eat it straight out of the pan! If you do it right, the bottom of the rice gets all crispy. It’s hell to clean this pan, so soak it overnight and enjoy a good movie. :P

Hope you get a chance to try this recipe! It took me many recipes to get this recipe juuuuuust right. Let me know if you attempt it or if you want to share a recipe of your own!

Lastly, if you like our robot garden thingy, it’s called Click & Grow. It’s awesome! We travel so much all year round, and every time we have friends stay at our place to take care of Spudgy and Meemers one of our plants die. But we got this robot garden, left for Japan for three weeks, and it didn’t die. Woohoo! Take that, Rose! You can’t kill this one!

EDIT: Found a 20% off code for your Click & Grow if you want to buy one. Woohoo! Enter GROW20 as the code and you should be good to go :D



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How to Make Dakgalbi


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  1. Thank you so much for the recipe, Martina! I’ve gotten really into cooking Korean food over the past few years, and it’s mostly due to funding your YouTube channel. Got inspired to try this after hitting a random fapfap. It turned out so good, my husband decided to instagram it. https://www.instagram.com/p/BVs00nDBJjd/
    Thanks for the motivation!

    3 years ago
  2. I made this for my family tonight, really good flavour! I was concerned about cooking with ddoek, (I’ve never used it before)but it turned out great. I had an adventure wandering around the Asian market, which is primarily Chinese with some Japanese goods, looking lost and having awesome people help me translate the Korean ddoek, and moo into an equivalent. I got some interesting looks.

    4 years ago
  3. I made this dish for the first time and I think it tastes good :) granted, I’ve never had dakgalbi before so I don’t know how it’s supposed to taste lol. But I had fun making it and trying something new. Thanks Martina!

    5 years ago
  4. Hello Duckies! –er I mean, Simon and Martina! My half Korean (yes, you both can be jealous) wife and I love your videos. I wanted to comment on a few ingredient smish-smashes between the blog post and the video. In the video and blog it is said the chicken is to be cut into strips, however in the video it is clearly in chunks (which would make more sense). Also, the ddeok are referred to (on the high budget post processing infotainment popup) as rice noodles, which threw me off since the end dish sort of looks like there’s noodles in it — maybe because of the $0.05 bag of mozzarella or the other string-like ingredients (enoki) — AND the comment in the blog post to use Udon or Ramen if you can’t find ddeok.

    Just some observations if you’d like to clarify on the blog or completely redo the video and mention me as your inspiration, your muse, your… je ne sais quoi. Or fly my wife and I out to Korea for an all-expenses paid guided tour by you silly kids. <3

    5 years ago
  5. Heya Sweetlings! So, I’m not a big fan of sweet potatoes (even the smell makes me gag) have any suggestions for a substitute? Maybe acorn squash? thought about Zucchini too…what would you do?

    5 years ago
  6. I am usually really bad at cooking, but I tried making this.
    It looked a bit different (more reddish than in the video), and at first I was worried because the sauce was more like a paste, but I ended up not even having to add water before putting in the ddeok.
    It tasted delicious, thank you for this receipe!

    5 years ago
  7. So I made this tonight for dinner and OMG it’s good. However I got so paranoid about it being too dry and thick that I added too much water and ended up making it a bit thin. Oops. Oh well, lessons learned for next time. It was still damn tasty. I may get brave and try soondubu jigae next because that is my favorite of all favorites but the stock part kind of makes me nervous (AKA: gutting the anchovies ew…). But this was crazy good, even if I did screw it up, and I’ll be making it again at some point.

    5 years ago
  8. Absolutely love that you added vegan alternatives. I can’t wait to make this next time my parents come over for dinner, you’re the best. You should make more cooking videos! They’re so entertaining, Martina you’re an awesome cook

    5 years ago
  9. I made this last night and loved it. I had the leftovers for dinner tonight. When I made it I scaled back the spices a bit as I didn’t want it to be too hot but ended up adding more gochukaru tonight, and a lot more cheese. That combination of cheesy and spicy took it to a whole new level. I was a bit nervous about cooking with tteok and almost just used ramen instead, but the tteok turned out fine and the texture was better than ramen would have been. Thanks Martina for an awesome recipe! I’ll definitely be making this again :)

    5 years ago
  10. I JUST made this and wow so great! I accidentally bought purple yams (i thought I was buying the japanese purple yams that are white inside, not bright purple ones, but it was still delicious!

    5 years ago
  11. This looks amazing. Just a few questions:
    Can you add zucchini?
    Is rice wine the same thing as rice vinegar?
    Can you add part of an extra curry bullion cube instead of the powdered curry?

    5 years ago
  12. Just got through making this with my partner. Absolutely loved it and it was quite easy to make.

    5 years ago
  13. At first I was transfixed by this video because of the giant kitty biscuit dispenser on the bench. Then you mentioned chicken. Then… oh yes, yes indeed… my Meemers Oppa appeared. And while I would usually be all claws out seeing him nuzzling another like this, well, it is Simon. And while he is furry and all, there is no comparison to my fluffiness (particularly since I am shedding for Summer – the human keeps having to jump over giant fluffy blue tumbleweeds as they drift across the floor). Four kitty paws up from me and two thumbs (?? whaaaaat?? no idea what they are) from the human for this – we are both drooling.

    5 years ago
  14. When I moved to China, this was the first Korean dish I learned how to make. So easy and so fun! But I feel like your version has more curry than what I generally do! I’m going to have to try that out. :) Cheers, it’s always a pleasure to watch your videos!

    5 years ago
  15. I have eaten a ton of DakGalbi in Korea, and I have never seen it with cheese added. Is that something you guys do, or is it more common than I realize?

    5 years ago
    • There are two different kinds of dakgalbi: the kind that is just marinated chicken grilled over charcoal and it’s served like samgyapsal and then there is the kind cooked in the giant flat pan in front of you. If you order the kind in the flat pan, they have an option for to add rice at the end and that one comes with cheese! They don’t usually cook it into the chicken like I did in this video, it’s mostly cooked with the rice, but we have been able to add it before at restaurants. :) Also, if you haven’t order your dakgalbi with cheese dduk you’re missing out on life! But not every chain offers it so you gotta hunt it down.

      5 years ago
  16. DD

    Mirin is a cooking wine. It is a kind of by-product of Sake/Cheung ju with more of sweetness. You can replace it with usual Korean(청주) or Japanese(사케) rice wine or clear part of strained 막걸리. Originally traditional korean cuisine use different wine for cooking depends on the food ingredient. But we can’t do it in modern society unless you are being a heavy drinker. Mirin provides good coverage for most of meat recipes. So, good to go in general.

    5 years ago
    • DD

      Fix : “Originally traditional korean cuisine use different wine for cooking depends on the food ingredient”->”Traditional way of korean cooking requests using the proper type of rice wine depends on the ingredients at the recipe.” This is probably better description.

      5 years ago
  17. Martina, did you make the moo yourself?

    5 years ago
  18. Curious question. Sweet potatoes in North America are pretty sweet imo. Are korean sweet potatoes are sweeter? Is there a big difference? I think the sweet and spicy mix sounds good together.

    5 years ago
    • Awesome thanks guys. I’m going to try it out tonight with my sweet potato and hopefully it turns out well. I’ve been wanting to make this for awhile. Ever since I saw it on maangchi but martina posting this recipe gave me the inspiration to finally do it!

      5 years ago
    • DD

      If I compare those, I personally think Korean sweet potato is sweeter than North American one, can’t generalized but in NY. It really taste different by cooking method and weather of the year though.

      5 years ago
    • I find Asian sweet potatoes less sweet than their NA counterpart. A bit more of a chestnut flavor and texture, not as much moisture. But delicious!

      5 years ago
    • I find Asian sweet potatoes less sweet than their Ana’s counterpart. A bit more of a chestnut flavor and texture, not as much moisture. But delicious!

      5 years ago
  19. I am leaving Korea this next spring after 6 years. I though I was going to have to traverse the barren land of no Dakgalbi alone. Now I will carry on the tradition to the shores of 므리카, perhaps even opening a restaurant, so that the uneducated masses can finally learn of the glory that is D.G.

    5 years ago
  20. If I can’t find Gochugaru, can I use red pepper flakes?

    5 years ago
    • you can get in online. hmart or amazon

      5 years ago
    • The flavor is quite different to me. Check Maangchi’s site to see is there’s a store near you that has it. She keeps up a pretty decent database of stores.

      5 years ago
  21. Wow, this looks good! I’m totally going to make a vegan version! But I think Tempeh or Tofu would better replacement for the chicken…. HRM!

    5 years ago
    • I think the tofu will probably break up too easily and will not absorb the sauce so it will taste really beany. But tempeh, TVP, or setain would be a better match! Good luck!

      5 years ago
  22. That looks so good. I will try it and take a picture and tweet it to you guys.

    5 years ago
  23. I have to say, Martina… Your eye makeup is on freakin’ fleek in this video.

    5 years ago
  24. Martina can you show us how to make the bulk version of the sauce for this recipe??

    5 years ago
    • I just triple or quadruple all the sauce ingredients, mix them together, and put them in an airtight container. I usually place a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface of the sauce before I close it so it doesn’t dry up. :)

      5 years ago