Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dakdoritang)
Dakdoritang is a Korean spicy chicken stew with vibrant mix of flavors. Chicken pieces and vegetables are beautifully braised in a gently sweet, spicy, and savory sauce. It’s incredibly comforting stew yet very easy to make – a great way to spice up your dinner rotation!
“Omg to die for. Simply the best chicken stew ever. Yes it was spicy, but the flavors were delightful.”brushjl
Koreans love their chicken stews. A hearty, comforting Korean chicken stew served with rice is a popular meal option both at home and restaurant.
With the vibrant mix of flavors, this spicy chicken stew called dakdoritang (닭도리탕) would perhaps take the crown from the rest, if not for another Korean braised chicken (Jjimdak, 찜닭) — another famous recipe from Korean soups and stews.
This spicy, hearty chicken stew is layered with flavor and packed with nutritious ingredients. If you have a well-stocked Asian pantry in your kitchen, you can make this tasty chicken stew easily at home with simple ingredients you already have.
What is dakdoritang
It is a classic Korean spicy stew dish that features tender pieces of chicken, potatoes, and carrots braised in a chili sauce that’s spicy, savory, and slightly sweet.
This soul comfort food had been in a debate for finding the right name for the dish. Here is the interesting fact.
Although it is originally called Dakdoritang (닭도리탕), this chicken stew has other name tags — dakbokkeumtang (닭볶음탕) or dakmaeuntang (닭매운탕)
The name of dakdoritang has been a controversy among Korean language scholars for while. Obviously “Dak” means chicken, “Tang” means stew or soup in Korean. The middle word “Dori” was the word experts debated. It sounds same as to Japanese word for bird. So people wanted to change it.
So, for a while the dish were encourage to be called “dakbokkeumtang” (meaning fried chicken stew) to keep its Korean purity in the name. I could never agree to this idea because this stew is not fried at all.
For that reason some preferred to call it “Dakmaeuntang” which literally means spicy chicken soup.
However, other scholars have discovered and argued that “dori” is actually a pure ancient Koran word, meaning “to cut up”. Since the stew is made with cut up chicken pieces, they insisted “Dakdoritang” should be the correct title as it is originated. The confusion has been resolved.
All three names are widely used nowadays, but all points to the same dish – spicy Korean chicken stew! I grew up with the title of dakdoritang since I was child, so I prefer to call it that way, anyway.
With chicken pieces so tender they instantly fall off the bone and the melt-in-your-mouth soft vegetables drenched in spicy sauce are the epitome of Korean comfort. Serve over a bowl of rice and Korean side dishes.
Then you are in a real treat for a good home cooked meal at its best.
If you want to try a soup version of spicy chicken dish, try my Spicy Korean Chicken Soup Recipe. It’s another great recipe that spicy food lovers would like.
Recipe tips to make the best spicy Korean chicken stew
- Use bone-in chicken pieces. They lend much more juice and flavors to the sauce and making the stew richer.
- The stew is traditionally made by cutting up a whole chicken into small pieces, but you can replace them with bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks instead.
- I recommend to peel-off the skin from the chicken to make it healthier and the braised sauce will be less greasy.
- Do not skip the sea kelp stock! It adds a wonderful umami that makes this chicken stew recipe stands out from the rest. It only takes 5 minutes to make and you will be amazed by the outcome.
Watch Dakdoritang Recipe Video
Here’s a video tutorial with a slightly different version of dakdoritang recipe. I used less of gochujang and more gochugaru (Korean chili flakes). It’s a spicier!
Ingredients you’ll need
If you have a well-stocked Asian or Korean pantry, all you need is some basic common ingredients to make this lovely stew.
- Chicken: traditionally a cut up whole chicken is used for this dish. You can use bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks instead. I personally prefer to remove the skin to make it a bit healthier.
- Vegetables: use onion, potato, and carrot. The veggies absorbs all the braising sauce and becomd tender and delicious. Feel free to add more or less of whatever you prefer.
- Sea kelp stock: it adds layer of flavor and umami that makes this recipe superior. Don’t skip it!
- Korean chili paste (gochujang): adds spicy, savory flavor and thickens the stew.
- Korean chili flakes (gochugaru): adds more spiciness.
- soy sauce: provides extra seasoning and taste
- Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang): add more umami and seasoning.
- Oyster sauce: optional
- Honey: sweetness that this stew requires
- Garlic and ginger paste: aromatic addition
- Sweet Rice wine: optional
- Sesame oil: add savory fragrance, but do not add too much.
How to make spicy Korean chicken stew (Dakdoritang)
Step 1. Make stew seasoning paste and coat chicken pieces
Combine all the seasonings together and mix well. You can easily adjust the amount of chili flakes (gochugaru) depending on your heat tolerance. Add the chicken pieces to the seasoning mix and coat them well.
Step 2. Pour sea kelp stock
Pour the sea kelp stock over the chicken just to barely cover the chicken.
To make the sea kelp stock: you simmer a large piece (about the size of your hand) of dried sea kelp in water for 5-7 minutes over low heat. Discard the sea kelp and use the stock. Please see my 5 Korean soup stocks post to get a detailed information.
Step 3. Bring the stew to boil
Let them boil first and then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, covered.
Step 4. Add veggies
Throw diced onion and carrots in the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes over med-low heat. Add the potatoes and simmer again for 10 minutes stirring gently occasionally.
Cooking time can be vary depending on the size of your vegetables. I like mine slightly big but you can make yours according to your preference.
Cooking Tip: When the vegetables are almost tender, open the lid to evaporate the liquid in the sauce. This will help thicken the sauce.
Step 7. Garnish
Lastly, add sliced green chili and green onion to the stew. Stir to mix well. Let the stew rest for 5 minutes, with a lid opened, before you serve. That will thicken up the stew nicely.
How to serve Korean spicy chicken stew
The visual of the stew is very appetizing. The chicken will instantly fall-off the bone and the vegetables are beautifully braised in the delicious sauce.
Bring on the rice! And you are so ready.
Enjoy the aroma first and dig in! And don’t forget to drizzle the lovely red gravy over you rice. It’s a to-die-for good!
Let this chicken stew spice up your dinner rotation. I have a feeling it will make everyone in your family very-very happy tonight.
Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dakdoritang)
- 2 1/2 to 3 lb whole chicken, cut up to pieces, skin removed if possible. See notes below for substitution.
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 lb potato, peeled and diced
- 2 green chilies, sliced
- 2 green onion, chopped
For sea kelp stock
- 4 cup water
- 1 large piece dried sea kelp (dashima)
For the stew seasoning paste
- Mix all the seasoning paste ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the chicken and toss to coat with the seasoning.
For the see kelp stock
- Combine dried sea kelp and water in a small pot. Bring to boil first, then simmer for 3 minutes over low heat. Discard the sea kelp and you will get a sea kelp stock ready to use.
To make the stew
- Place the marinated chicken pieces in a large wide pot and pour the sea kelp stock over to barely cover the chicken, about 2-3 cups. Bring the pot to med-high heat and let the stew boil first, then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, covered.
- Add the onion and carrots to the chicken, toss together. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, covered.
- Add the potatoes and stir in the stew. Simmer again for another 10 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your vegetables.
- When the vegetables are just tender, uncover the pan. Raise the heat to med-high, and cook another 3-4 minutes.
- Lastly sprinkle chilies, green onion, and heat though. Remove the pan from the heat. Let the stew rest for 5 minutes before you serve. The sauce will thicken as the stew rests. Serve the stew with rice