Easy Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dakdoritang)

Savory, spicy chicken stew with a mix of hearty carrots, potatoes, onions, and cabbage, Dakdoritang (닭도리탕) is a Korean dish to warm the soul on a frigid, winter night.

Spicy Korean Chicken Stew recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

I first tried dakdoritang on a winter night many years ago at a small restaurant in Seoul.  I sat down on the wooden floor, cross-legged, with my heavy jacket still wrapped around me.  The Korean auntie (bapsang) walked over and I excitedly pointed to the table next to ours.  There was a large, shallow pot, resting on top of a hot stove, filled with delicious meat and vegetables soaking in a spicy, bubbling sauce.

Korean dakdoritang recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

When the dakdoritang was finally on our table, and the spicy, steam completely engulfed me, I took my coat off to let the heat in, and enjoyed one of my most memorable meals. 

Now, whenever I have a craving for something comforting on cold nights like these in January, I always come back to this Spicy Korean Chicken Stew.

Spicy Korean Chicken Stew by SeasonWithSpice.com

The dish typically uses a whole chicken, chopped up into pieces, and braised in a spicy sauce.  That’s the best way to create a rich chicken broth for the stew, but those are for special weekend days when I have more time to prepare dinner.  For this recipe, I sped up the process by using boneless chicken thighs – browning them first, and then simmering them in the stew. 

Whichever method or ingredients you choose, I promise you this Easy Spicy Korean Chicken Stew will warm you from the top of your head, to the tips of your toes. 

Easy Spicy Korean Chicken Stew by SeasonWithSpice.com
Easy Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dakdoritang 닭도리탕) 
by Season with Spice
Serves 4

1lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs – cut into large bite sized chunks
Vegetable oil
1 yellow onion – diced
2 large carrots – sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth or kelp stock*
3 Yukon Gold potatoes – peeled and cut into large bite sized chunks
2-3 cups Napa cabbage (or green cabbage or Savoy cabbage) – roughly chopped
2 scallions – sliced diagonally

1/4 tsp salt (I used Himalayan Pink Salt)
2 tsp rice wine

For the sauce: 
2.5 tbsp to 3 tbsp Korean chili paste (gochujang)
1 tbsp of Season with Spice's Korean BBQ Blend
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine
2 large garlic cloves – minced
1 tsp minced ginger (optional)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)

1. Season the chicken with salt and rice wine. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes, or overnight.
2. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce, and mix well. Set aside.
3. In a deep sauce pan or wok, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add in the yellow onion and cook until softened, but not browned. Turn heat to medium-high, and add in the chicken. Cook until brown on the edges – about 5-7 minutes. Add in the carrots and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Finally, stir in the sauce and mix well.
4. Pour in the broth/stock over the chicken to just cover them. Add in the potato chunks, and bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to low, cover pan, and simmer for about 18-20 minutes (depending on the size of the vegetables and meat, cooking time will vary).
5. After vegetables are almost tender, remove cover. Taste the stew, and adjust any seasonings if necessary. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook until sauce thickens to desired consistency.
6. Dish out, and garnish with scallion. Enjoy with steamed rice!

- Kelp (or Kombu) stock is commonly used in Japanese and Korean cooking. To make a quick kelp stock for this recipe, place half a strip of kelp (gently wipe clean first) and 2.5 cups of water into a small pot. Bring it to a boil, and let simmer for 5-6 minutes over low heat. The stock is ready to use when it is a light golden color. Remove the kelp (you can save it to make more stock later, or to use in other dishes).