Several weeks ago, my friend Louise and I visited a Korean restaurant in Solaris Mont Kiara “Uncle Jang”, which specialises in Dak Galbi. It was my first experience and boy I was hooked. For the uninitiated, Dak Galbi is a dish consisting of spicy marinated chicken pieces, stir fried with various vegetables, plus or minus some kind of carb component, commonly Udon, Ramen or simply rice. The unique way of eating this, much like the Japanese Teppanyaki (minus the frills, or terror, of catching the food with your mouth) is that there is usually a huge skillet on the table and the restaurant staff would cook this in front of you. Watching the dish come together is a joy in itself.
Hailed from Chuncheon, South Korea, this dish is also known locally as students’ galbi or commoners’ galbi due to the large portion and cheap price. It’s amazing how the simple ingredients of Chicken, Cabbage, Sweet Potato, Rice Cakes and Noodles could be so additive. Thanks to the Gochujang-based red spicy sauce, Yang Nyum Jang. Then again, Gochujang pretty much makes everything taste good. Except maybe Ice cream. And fruits. Hmm.
Since it’s nothing other than just 10-15 minues of stir fry, I figure I’d replicate this at home. It would have been perfect if I have a portable cooker of some sort, but using just a pan works the same too. If you can take the heat, feel free to pile on the chili flakes!
1 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts sliced into bite-sized pieces
3 stalks spring onions, chopped into 1″ pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 large cabbage, cut into small chunks
1 sweet potato, sliced into 2 inches sticks
1 cup of Rice Cakes, soaked in hot water for 15-20 mins
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
sprinkling of sesame seeds
Optional: Udon Noodles (I’ve used fresh ones and only half a packet, small eater)
For the Yang Nyum Jang:
1 tablespoon Gochugaru (Korean Chilli flakes), or just substitute with normal ones. *
3 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon Shao Xing Wine (or sake)
Dash of pepper (to taste)
Make up the Yang Nyum Jang by mixing everything together. Marinate the Chicken with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Set the rest of the sauce aside.
Heat a pan or electric skillet to medium, add both oils. Add the cabbage, sweet potato, onion and rice cakes. Give it a little stir.
Push the vegetables aside and add the marinated chicken. Or you could just pile the chicken on top. I’m just fussy. Let it cook a little, no more than 1 minute.
Now it’s time to add the delicious sauce. With that, throw in about 1/4 cup of water as well so the mixture doesn’t get too dry.
Now, we just stir, stir, stir! If you are using Udon noodles (or Ramen), time to add them in too. Turn the heat slightly lower so it doesn’t burn
Note that due to the nature of rice cakes there will inevitably be some parts sticking to the bottom. Hence the lower heat. If you don’t mind the carcinogens too much these burnt bits are actually quite enjoyable.
You’ll be surprised how fast this cooks! The whole process should not take more than 15 minutes. The trick is when the cabbages are sufficiently softened. Add the spring onions and you’ll be ready to dig in!
I’m anticipating Dak Galbi party! With good friends, laughters, and yeah you guessed it, plenty of soju!