Dak galbi, also romanised dalk galbi, is a popular Korean dish generally made by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in a gochujang (chilli pepper paste) based sauce, and sliced cabbage, sweet potato, spring onions, onions, Ggaennip, and tteok (rice cake) together on a hot plate. It is a local specialty food for the city of Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, where dak galbi originates. Because of its origin, the dish is also called Chunchŏn dak galbi.
It is said that dak galbi appeared after the late 1960s as an inexpensive anju (food that is eaten while drinking) in small taverns, on the outskirts of the city to replace the comparatively expensive gui dishes which are grilled over charcoal.
The dish has spread to Chunchŏn’s main districts, where the livestock industry thrives and offers fresh ingredients with no need for refrigeration. There is a street known as dak galbi golmok (dak galbi alley) which has a high concentration of dak galbi restaurants. Due to the city’s northern location, it is a common destination for conscripted soldiers on leave.
It is also a popular dish for university students who are on a low budget, as dak galbi is relatively cheap and served in abundance. It earned the nickname “commoners’ galbi” or “university student’s galbi” back in the 1970s.
Despite the fact that its name means chicken ribs, there is no rib meat in dak galbi.
The city of Chunchŏn has held an annual autumn festival dedicated to dak galbi since 2005
Dak Galbi - Korean Spicy Grilled Chicken and Vegetables
Dak galbi is a popular Korean dish generally made by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in a chilli pepper paste based sauce, and sliced cabbage, sweet potato, spring onions, onions, ggaennip, and rice cake together on a hot plate.
450 g boneless, skinless chicken thigh, diced
250 g Korean rice cake sticks
¼ - ½ cabbage, diced
8 - 10 perilla leaves, sliced
½ large onion, sliced
1 medium sweet potato, sliced into ½ cm thick wedges
2 tablespoon grape seed oil or canola oil
2-4 tablespoons water
additional perilla leaves and toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
For the sauce
3 tablespoon Korean chilli paste
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
dashes of pepper
1 tablespoon corn syrup, optional
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Toss the chicken pieces with ½ the sauce and mix. Set aside.
Soak rice cakes in hot water until ready to use and drain.
Drizzle oil in a cast iron skillet, spread the chicken and top with vegetables (only ½ the perilla leaves) and rice cakes. Drizzle the remaining sauce over and bring the skillet to a medium-high heat.
When the contents of the skillet begin to sizzle, toss to coat everything with the sauce. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Add the water to create steam.
Reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook, about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the chicken pieces are cooked through and potatoes are tender, add the rest of the perilla leaves and heat through. Everything should be slightly browned at this stage. Toss gently so that you don't break the potatoes.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with more perilla leaves. Serve hot.
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