Dakdoritang (Korean Spicy Chicken Stew)
Dakdoritang is a hearty Korean spicy chicken stew that’s sure to cozy up your meal times. This traditional recipe, known for its robust blend of spices, offers tender, braised chicken, carrots, and potatoes in a thick, red sauce. Two cooking methods are introduced: stove top and pressure cooking.
“I’ve been making this for years after discovering Korean food on this site. Simply the most painfully delicious stew on earth. Thank you!”Rudy
Each nation boasts its unique take on a savory chicken stew, and in Korean cuisine, dakdoritang reigns supreme as the quintessential braised Korean chicken.
This robust spicy chicken stew invites chicken and veggies to simmer gently in a chili sauce, achieving a perfect balance of spicy, savory, and a hint of sweetness. Here, the chicken becomes so tender that it eagerly falls off the bone at the slightest touch.
Serve up a pot of this radiant, fiery-red chicken stew and transform your family dinner into a wholesome feast. With this straightforward yet gratifying recipe, satisfaction is just a simmer away.
What is Dakdoritang?
Dakdoritang (닭도리탕) is a popular Korean spicy chicken stew both at home and restaurants. It combines cut-up whole chicken and vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, in a rich, spicy sauce made from Korean chili paste (gochujang) and chili flakes (gochugaru).
The mix of spicy, sweet, and savory flavors makes it a hearty dish, and the chicken cooks until it’s wonderfully tender. While simple to prepare, this dish boasts bold, comforting flavors, making it ideal for sharing with family and friends.
Dakdoritang also goes by the name dakbokkeumtang(닭볶음탕) or dakmaeuntang (닭매운탕). The term “dakdoritang or Dak-doritang” carries some controversy because it’s thought to include “dori,” originated from Japanese word, though this point remains a topic of debate.
Dak means chicken and tang means stew. Having known it as Dakdoritang since my childhood, I prefer to stick with this familiar name.
Choosing Chicken and Vegetables
Dakdoritang recipe uses pieces of chicken with the bones left in. In Korea, people often cut a whole chicken into little parts for this dish. You can find these pre-cut chickens at local markets there, making it easy for home cooking.
If you’re making it yourself, parts like chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks with the bones are great choices. They add a lot of juicy flavor to the sauce, making your dish even tastier.
In the vegetable mix, you’ll usually find potatoes, carrots, onions, and scallions in the stew. These veggies become incredibly soft and oh-so-tasty when they soak up the braising sauce!
For a fun variation, consider using Korean radish or sweet potatoes in place of regular potatoes. Mushrooms are great addition as well. Throwing in fresh green chili peppers will spice things up and add an extra layer of flavor.
My Best Cooking Tips
- Using bone-in chicken parts (either a whole cut-up chicken or individual thighs or drumsticks) contributes more flavor and richness to the stew.
- I usually remove the chicken skin for a healthier option, but that’s personal preference.
- The sea kelp stock is a game-changer! Don’t leave it out—it introduces a wonderful umami touch that truly distinguishes this stew.
- Preparing the stock is a quick 5-minute step, but the flavor complexity it adds is striking.
- Go big with vegetable cuts. Large chunks of carrots and potatoes enhance the visual allure and taste of this Korean specialty, ensuring they maintain their form better during cooking.
- Adjust the quantity of chili flakes to match your spice tolerance. However, don’t leave them out entirely.
- You can use as little as 1 tablespoon if you prefer a milder flavor.
If you have a well-stocked Asian or Korean pantry, you probably already have all the basic ingredients you need to make this delicious stew.
- Chicken: Traditionally, this dish is made with a cut-up whole chicken, but bone-in chicken pieces like thighs and drumsticks are also excellent.
- Removing the skin is a good idea for a healthier option and to reduce the excess fat in the sauce.
- Potatoes and Carrots: Buttery Yukon potatoes are ideal, but other types work well too. Soft, tender braised veggies are often the best part!
- Additional Savory Ingredients: Include onion, green onion, and fresh chilies (either green or red).
- Dried Sea Kelp: This is used to prepare a flavorful sea kelp stock as the base.
- See my Galbijjim Recipe (Korean braised beef ribs) for the same usage of this stock.
- Gochujang and Gochugaru (Korean Chili Paste and Flakes): These essential condiments build the dish’s distinctive flavor.
- Other Essentials: Soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, sweet rice wine, black pepper and sesame oil are also necessary.
- These will be combined with the sea kelp stock to create a flavorful braising sauce.
How to Make Dakdoritang
- Make stock: In a small pot, simmer together a piece of dried sea kelp in 4 cups of water on low heat for 5 minutes. Afterward remove the sea kelp, keeping the stock for later use.
- Prep the Chicken (Optional): Remove the chicken skin if you prefer — Paper towel makes this job easier.
- Sauce Ingredients: Combine all the seasonings in a bowl and mix well.
- Adjust the amount of chili flakes (gochugaru) to your desired level of spiciness.
- Add the Sauce: Combine the chicken pieces, onion, and carrot in a large pot. Add the sauce over them.
- Pour the stock you reserved, just enough to cover the ingredients (around 2-3 cups). Cover with the lid on and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes.
- Add the Potatoes and the carrots and incorporate with the sauce.
- Simmer: Cover the lid, lower the heat to medium, and let it all simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and easy to pierce with a fork or a chopstick.
- Stir now and then, ladling sauce over the chicken and vegetables.
Cooking Tip: When the vegetables are almost tender, you can open the lid to let the liquid in the sauce evaporate. This will help thicken the sauce.
- Final Touches: Add chilies and green onion, continuing to cook for an additional 3 minutes without the lid. Finish off with a sprinkle of chopped green onions for garnish.
Allow the chicken stew to rest for 2-3 minutes before serving. This helps the sauce thicken, and the flavors further seep into the chicken and vegetables.
This hearty dish pairs wonderfully with both fresh white rice and multigrain rice (japgokbap), allowing you to fully enjoy the tenderness of the meat and veggies. Be sure to spoon some of the rich sauce over your rice to capture every bit of its deliciousness.
Pressure Cooking Method (Instant Pot)
Dakdoritang can be efficiently prepared in a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot. Remember to reduce the stock quantity used (about 1-1/2 cup), and I suggest cutting the vegetables larger to adjust for this cooking method. Here is how-to:
- To begin, place the chicken, onion, carrot, and potato in a 6- to 8-quart electric pressure cooker.
- Drizzle the seasoning paste over them and add 1-1/2 cup of sea kelp stock.
- Secure the lid and set the steam valve to the sealed position. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
- Afterward, allow it to release pressure naturally for 5 minutes before performing a quick release.
- If you wish to reduce the liquid further, activate the sauté setting and let the stew simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the chilies and green onion and heat through in sauté setting.
- Taste it, adding a touch more honey if needed, to adjust the flavors to your liking.
- Garnished the stew with chopped green onions, and serve with rice.
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Dakdoritang (Korean Spicy Chicken Stew)
- 2 1/2 to 3 lb whole chicken, cut up to pieces, or bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, roughly diced
- 1 lb Yukon potato, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
- 2 green chilies, sliced
- 2 green onion, chopped
For sea kelp stock
- 4 cup water
- 1 large piece dried sea kelp (dashima)
For the see kelp stock
- Simmer a piece of dried sea kelp in 4 cups of water in a small pot for 5 minutes on low heat. Remove the sea kelp, and reserve the stock.
For the chicken (optional)
- If you prefer, remove the chicken skin — using a paper towel makes this task easier.
For seasoning paste
- In a separate bowl, combine all the seasoning paste ingredients together and mix well.
To make the stew
- In a large pot, gather the chicken pieces, onion, and carrot. Evenly distribute the seasoning paste over them, then add the reserved stock you made earlier, using just enough to slightly cover the ingredients (around 2-3 cups).
- Place the lid on and let it come to a boil over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Then, incorporate the potatoes, ensuring they and the carrots are mostly covered by the sauce. Secure the lid, lower the heat to medium, and let it all simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and easy to pierce with a fork (a chopstick works well for testing this). Stir now and then, ladling sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Remove the lid for the final 5 minutes to let steam out.
- Add chilies and green onion, continuing to cook for an additional 3 minutes without the lid. Give it a good stir, and finish off with a sprinkle of chopped green onions for garnish.
Pressure Cooking Method (Instant Pot)
- Place the chicken, onion, carrot, and potato in a 6- to 8-quart electric pressure cooker. Drizzle the seasoning paste over them and add 1-1/2 cup of sea kelp stock.
- Secure the lid and set the steam valve to the sealed position. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Afterward, allow it to release pressure naturally for 5 minutes before performing a quick release.
- If you wish to reduce the liquid further, activate the sauté setting and let the stew simmer for a few minutes. Add the chilies and green onion and heat through in sauté setting. Taste it, adding a touch more honey if needed, to adjust the flavors to your liking. Garnished the stew with chopped green onions, and serve with rice.