Have you tried Korean style spicy chicken? Here I would like to introduce you a dish called Dak-galbi (닭갈비). Boneless chicken thigh meat is stir-fried with rice cakes, cabbage, sweet potato, and a Korean herb called Perilla (kketnip) in spicy chili sauce. There are several versions of Korean Dak-galbi, but this recipe I am about to share with you would be the most popular. 

The recipe itself is originated from a city called Chuncheon (춘천), which is on the eastern province of Korea. The unique thing about this recipe would be the addition of curry powder in the sauce. It goes so well with the Korean chili paste and enhanced the spicy flavor.

Perilla (kketnip,깻잎) is a very common herb in Korea and brings such a fragrance to the dish. Many foreigners who tried Dak-galbi mostly fall in love with the dish regardless how spicy it is. This is one of my favorite Korean chicken recipes, and I can eat this every day if I can. So good!

Let’s make the sauce first. Left to right; rice wine, soy sauce, corn syrup (optional), sugar, Korean chili paste, ginger powder, curry powder, pepper, sesame oil, garlic, and Korean chili flakes.

Combine all the sauce ingredients. The exotic taste adventure begins right here.

Use boneless, skinless thigh meat. Dice into bite size chunks.

Massage your chicken with 1/2 the sauce and set aside.

Here are the supporting crews. Rice cakes, onion, sweet potato, cabbage, and perilla leaves.

Soak your rice cake in hot water until ready to use. If using fresh ones, no need to soak.

Prepare your veggies. Cabbage, onion, sweet potato, and perilla leaves called “kkatnip” in Korean.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and place the chicken,

Add the veggies and the rice cakes on top (use half the amount of Kkatnip at this time). Add the remaining sauce over and bring the pan to med-high heat.

When you hear the loud sizzling sound, start tossing around carefully. You may want to reduce the heat to medium.

Add a little water (2-4 Tbsp) to create some steam to cook everything in.

When the chicken pieces are cooked through and the sweet potatoes are tender, add the rest of kkatnip.

Toss gently so that you don’t break the sweet potatoes. 


Dish it up and enjoy all the flavor from each ingredient. You might need a cold drink to cool down the spicy heat as you eat. It is spicy but it tastes so good that it is hard to put the fork or chopsticks down. You will find yourself constantly putting more in your mouth.

After emptying out everything on the skillet, and if you are still hungry, you can add some cooked rice to fry up with the leftover sauce in the skillet. Sprinkle some roasted seaweed and drizzle with sesame sauce. Your stomach will reach to the verge of explosion, but this spicy fried rice will be the best rice you will ever have!


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Spicy Korean Chicken and Rice Cakes (Dak-galbi)

serves 4

prep time: 20 minutes

cook time: 15 mintues


  • 1 lb (450g) boneless, skinless chicken thigh, diced
  • 1/2 lb (250g) Korean rice cake sticks
  • 1/4-1/2 cabbage, diced
  • 8-10 perilla leaves, sliced
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, sliced into 1/4" thick wedges
  • 2 tablespoon grape seed or canola oil
  • 2-4 tablespoon water
  • more perilla leaves and toasted sesame seeds to garnish

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoon Korean chili paste
  • 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon Korean chili 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 Korean corn syrup, optional


  1. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Toss the chicken pieces with 1/2 the sauce and mix. Set aside.
  2. Soak rice cakes in hot water until ready to use and drain.
  3. Drizzle oil in a cast iron skillet, spread the chicken and top with vegetables (only 1/2 the amount of perilla leaves) and rice cakes. Drizzle the remaining sauce over and bring the skillet over med-high heat.
  4. When you hear the loud sizzling noise from the skillet, toss to coat everything with the sauce. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Add the water to create steam to cook and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook, about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. When chickens 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.
  6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with more perilla leaves. Serve hot.

For more delicious Korean chicken recipes, click the images below!

Spicy Chicken Stew   Korean Chicken Salad   Cola Braised Korean Chicken