I was first introduced to Korean food during college as there were several excellent Korean restaurants around campus. I started my journey by trying out bulgogi, bibimbap, and tteokbokki. They quickly became one of my favorite dishes as they usually consist of multiple layer of flavors such as spicy gochujang, beautiful nutty aroma of sesame oil, and topped off with sour kimchi served on the side. Korean BBQ is also one of my favorite dining experience ever as you receive plates after plates of meats and cook them yourselves on the tabletop grill.
Buldak is a very hot Korean dish consists of chicken (you can substitute with other meats such as seafood) coated with Korean pepper flakes, gochujang, and lots of garlic. The word “bul” means fire in Korean and “dak” means chicken. Calling this dish “fire chicken” is fitting as they are extremely spicy and I don’t doubt some people will find it difficult to eat.
Before we even bite into this dish, smell of spicy chili flakes rushes into our nose to prepare us for what lies ahead. On first bite, the spicy taste can be a little overwhelming but we can also taste the nuttiness of sesame oil as well as the wonderful garlic and ginger taste. Once the rush of spiciness settled, the juiciness of the chicken and chewiness from Korean rice cake provides a wonderful texture in your mouth that is unforgettable.
We then add chicken to the bowl and mix well. I use my hands as it is easier to do! Let it rest for a few hours or overnight to let these beautiful flavors know each other in the bowl.
While waiting, I just quickly toast our rice cake on a frying pan to ensure they are crispy.
Add the chicken mixture in a pan and cover. I let this cook for about 5-7 minutes (depending on your pan).
Once the chicken is cooked for 5-7 minutes, stir and add our rice cake. Turn down heat to low, cover, and cook for another 8 minutes.
Mix everything together and serve with warm rice.
- 2 lbs chicken breast
- ½ cup hot pepper flakes
- 3 tbsp gochujang (hot pepper paste)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame/vegetable/corn oil
- ⅓ cup Korean rice syrup
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp ginger
- Sliced rice cake (to taste)
- Salt & Pepper (to taste)
- Green onion (chopped - to taste)
- Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces
- Combined hot pepper flakes, hot pepper paste, soy sauce, vegetable oil, black pepper, rice syrup, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. Mix into thick paste
- Add chicken and coat
- Let marinate for several hours or overnight
- Toast rice cake with 1 tsp of oil
- Place marinated chicken into pan. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes
- Mix and add rice cake. Cover and cook on low heat for another 8 minutes
- Serve with warm rice