Janet's Notebook
Korean Recipes Bring Spice to Everyday Cooking

Dakdoritang: Korean Spicy Chicken

Whether baked, grilled or fried, chicken is often the go-to dinner in kitchens all across the country (including mine!) While chicken is both affordable and versatile, I find that it's sometimes tough to make it, well, interesting. One solution to this dilemma was recently handed to me in the form of a new-to-me cuisine: Korean!

It all started a few months ago when I earned my Black Belt in Karate. The instructor knew how hard we had worked (yes, especially this here grandma), so he generously treated the entire class to a scrumptious Korean meal. Well, it turns out that chicken is one of the stars of Korean cooking tradition too. Often served roasted or braised with vegetables or in soups, chicken is also frequently dressed with an abundance of tasty, spice-filled sauces.

Much to my delight, many Club members have been sharing their own favorite twists on Korean chicken. Patty Shannon's recipe for saucy Dakdoritang, for example, is a Blue Ribbon-winning delight of a dish that takes spicy chicken to a whole new (international) level.

"My husband LOVES spicy Asian dishes, so it wasn't a surprise when a friend asked me for a good Korean dish," says Patty. "We double the chili paste and pepper flakes at my house."

I like a good bit of heat myself, but you will want to keep an eye on the amount of spice you use in this one. Carefully adjust the amount of red pepper flakes and chili paste to your liking and you'll be fine... no matter your heat tolerance. As Patty also points out, the red potatoes in the dish add a bit of sweetness that counteracts some of the spice. You can easily substitute regular baking potatoes if you have them on hand, but they won't serve-up quite the same cooling effect.

If you're looking to baby-step your way toward enlightenment, you may want to try Cynthia Sigler's creative Korean take on traditional chicken wings.

"[This is] one of my favorites to take to church dinners, parties, or even dinner," says Cynthia. "Everyone has loved these when I make them, they are usually the first to go."

Wow, this flavorful wing sauce makes this recipe a real knock-out. A simple blending of earthy scallions, ginger, garlic and soy, Cynthia's sauce is dangerously addicting when served up on the juicy chicken wings.

Another worthy departure from your everyday chicken is Kimi Gaines' tremendously lovable Bulgogi Sauce. Perfect for pairing with chicken OR beef, Bulgogi really embodies all that is great to me about Korean cuisine: subtle sweetness, pleasant spices and an easily doable recipe.

"My husband's family lived in Korea for three years and his mom sure could make some good Korean food," explains Kimi. "Now I have a daughter in Korea eating it all the time."

Bulgogi all the time? Heavenly. This truly is a wonderfully accessible way to begin exploring Korean cooking. Your chicken will thank you!

Ever since that first Korean meal I shared with my classmates, I just haven't been able to shake my cravings for the flavors of the region. The Crew and I thoroughly enjoy traveling the world within the course of a single meal. And while I never thought I'd be saying it, these dishes have become a staple in my family's kitchen. Who's up for Korean tonight?!

More Stories... Subscribe to RSS

Margo Tully - May 24, 2011
I tried the Dakdoritang. I reduced the amount of red chili pepper because I'm not fond of really spicy food. Overall, it was okay...my family wasn't really thrilled about the dish.
Beatrice Abfalter - May 23, 2011
this has sparked my interest and made my taste buds tingle at the thought of eating Korean food!
Lori Brown - May 21, 2011
I love Asian foods period!! I like to try different dishes, my husband usually will stick to his usual..fried rice or sweet and sour chicken. I make a wonderful chicken fried rice, and have used pork for something different. I don't have a recipe per say, it's mostly in my head. I need to sit down and put it on paper so I can share. I'm madly in love with lettuce wraps, P.F.Changs is my favorite!! Whenever i'm in Nashville, I have to go there for lunch or dinner. I usually will just order the lettuce wraps as my meal. YUMMY!
NADINE REID - May 20, 2011
Karate?! Korean cuisine is new to me too. I think I'll need to get some help with pronouncing the names. Bulgogi? ...any help out there?
Brad Heintz - May 19, 2011
I spent four months in Korea while in graduate school and definately acquired a taste for Korean food. I can't wait to try some of these recipes.
Leah Stacey - May 17, 2011
I love Asian food! I saved several of these. I can't wait to try them out! Congrats to all those that were mentioned in the article!
Robert Priddy - May 17, 2011
I'm also a fan of different styles of Asian cuisines. I will have to try some of these recipes out.