Spicy Korean Chicken Soup (Dakgaejang)
This spicy Korean chicken soup (dakgaejang) is delicious and full of flavor. With plenty of vegetables, like leeks and mushrooms, this recipe is nourishing and comforting. Plus, learn my secret tips to keeping the broth bright red.
When the weather outside is cold and wet, I am thinking of a bowl of very spicy soup. Koreans love their winter soup with strong heat and this spicy Korean chicken soup (dakgaejang) will hit the spot.
If you are fond of Yukgaejang (spicy Korean beef stew), you will love its chicken version but simplified. The traditional way of making yukgaejang takes time and some effort, but this Korean chicken soup is much easier to make.
I like things simple even in the recipe. So here is my version of spicy Korean chicken soup recipe (dakgaejang) that is easier to make.
I will also share a secret on how to maintain the devilish red broth all the way through until you finish the entire batch of soup. Now that’s a devilish good news. Don’t you think?
Homemade Chicken Stock for Chicken Soup
Most Korean soup and stew recipes often require a good stock. Use a whole chicken, preferably organic chicken.
How to make homemade chicken stock
- Place a whole chicken in a large stock pot.
- Add onion, leek, garlic, chunks of radish, and dried sea kelp. Pour enough water to cover and bring them to boil. Reduce to heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken on the side to cool, discard the vegetables, and reserve the stock. Shred chicken and set aside.
Recipe Instructions and Tips
Vegetables for dakgaejang
I use mung bean spouts, oyster mushroom, Asian leek, and Asian chives. You can leave out Asian chives if you can’t find. You can also substitute Asian leek with a bunch of green onion instead.
How to make Chili Oil
Heat Korean chili flakes and garlic in oils over low flame until the oil turns to red color, about 1-2 minutes.
You can adjust the amount of chili according to your desired heat tolerance. Be careful not to burn your chili flakes. Use low heat, otherwise it will easily burn the chili flakes.
Add the leek, and Mung bean sprouts and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until they get softened.
How to Keep the Broth Red
Most times, soups made with chili oil turn the broth very red at the beginning but easily disappears once cooking is finished. It leaves the soup somewhat less attractive.
Here is my tip to maintain the devilish redness in the broth.
Add 1/2-1 tablespoon of Korean chili paste. It won’t change the texture of the broth, but holds its redness all the way through until you finished the whole batch of soup. It adds a slight body to the soup and brings a better taste.
Season Spicy Korean Chicken Soup (Dakgaejang)
Boil the soup with vegetables until they are soft.
Add the chicken and heat through.
Season the soup with Korean Soy sauce for soup and tuna sauce (if you have).
I like to add tuna sauce since it adds a more depth to the broth, but you can leave out if you don’t have. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed.
Lastly, sprinkle Asian chives to the soup. Chives are optional, so you can leave them out and add more green onion, instead.
As you can see, this spicy chicken and vegetable soup presents with a devilish red broth. It will maintain its redness all the way through until you finish the entire batch.
Although it looks so devilish red, it’s not overly spicy and tolerable. You can always adjust the amount of chili flakes depends on your preference.
Serving and Storage Suggestion
Simply serve with rice and kimchi as a side dish. You don’t need anything else. It’s a hearty soup and perfect for cold weather when you need extra kick to keep you warm.
Leftover soup should be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This soup freezes well, too. Cool the soup and pour that in an airtight zip bag. It should keep for 3 months in the freezer. To reheat, thaw the soup and warm it up on the stove or use a microwave.
Check out my Korean Cooking Favorite Cookbook for more authentic Korean recipes.
More Delicious Korean Soup Recipes
- Turnip Green Potato Soup
- Korean Beef Radish Soup (Sogogi Muguk)
- Kimchi Bean Sprout Soup
- How to make Yukgaejang (Spicy Korean Beef Soup)
- Beef and Bean Sprout Soup
Spicy Korean Chicken Soup (Dakgaejang)
For chicken stock
- 1 2.5-3 lb whole chicken
- 2-3 thick slices of Korean or daikon radish
- 1 onion, cut in half
- 1 Asian leek, sliced, see note below
- 6-7 cloves garlic
- 1 dried sea kelp (dashima)
- 12 cups water
For chili oil
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2-3 tbsp Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 10 oz mung bean sprouts
- 1 Asian leek, sliced, or a bunch green onion
- 5 oz oyster mushrooms, or other mushrooms
- 1/2-1 tbsp Korean chili paste (gochujang)
- 2 tbsp Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang)
- 1 tbsp Korean tuna sauce, optional
- 1/2 cup Asian chives, sliced, optional (See note below)
- salt and pepper to taste
To make the chicken stock
- Add all the stock ingredients in a stock pot and pour water. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 45 minutes over low heat. Transfer the chicken on the side, discard the vegetables and reserve the stock. Shred chicken and set aside.
To make the chili oil
- Heat oils in a large soup pot over low flame, add the chili flakes and garlic. Cook until oil turns red and fragrant, stirring constantly; about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the chili flakes.
To make the soup
- Add the leeks and mung bean sprouts to chili oil in a pot, stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and toss. Pour the reserved stock.
- Add the chili paste and mix everything well. Bring the soup to boil over medium heat and cook until the vegetables are soft and tender.
- Add the shredded chicken and heat through. Season the soup with Korean soup soy sauce and the tuna sauce (if using). Add the Asian chives (if using) and stir well.
- Add more sauces, and salt & pepper according to your taste. Serve hot with rice and kimchi on the side.
My husband was stationed in Korea and this recipe takes us back there. I make it for us a few times a month. I do add a jar of spicy kimchi to it and that gives it another layer of deliciousness. Thank you so much, it is such a treat.
Thank you for this recipe, it is delicious! I froze half, and whenever I have a cold, I defrost and heat it up and it always makes me feel better 🙂
So glad to hear that this soup made you feel better. Korean chicken soup, does bring a good comfort to those who enjoys a spicy food. Thank you for your comment!
I’m going to try this amazing sounding recipe but have a question about the chili oil. In ingredients list there is no mention of garlic but in the instructions for making the chilli oil you mention adding chili flakes and garlic.
What’s the ”proper” way to do it- with or without garlic? As a garlic fan I might add it anyways but just checking!
Thanks for pointing out the garlic. The garlic should be added when you make the chili oil. Somehow the garlic was missing in the ingredient list. I corrected the recipe card. Hope you like this soup.
Made this tonight, with dark meat turkey because that’s what I had, and the soup is fantastic! Great flavor and it makes enough for plenty of leftovers!
Turkey sounds like a wonderful substitution. Glad to hear you liked this soup. Thanks.
This looks terrific! I LOVE spicy soups, and this is so perfect for today’s weather. Thanks!
So appetizing and warming! Perfect for the freezing cold weather we have over here.