Learn how to make spicy Korean chicken stew. The tender chicken pieces and potatoes are coated in a spicy sauce made with Gochujang paste.
Asian Chicken Stew
This Korean chicken stew has become one of my favorite chicken dishes lately. I have already cooked it several times; it is just that good.
A very straightforward recipe, with no special techniques or steps required, just a few good ingredients and a minimum of effort. And the result is mouthwatering. You will not believe how tender those thighs will become, how good that sauce will be and how you will lick every bit of leftover sauce from the bottom of your pan after finishing with the chicken and potatoes.
Table of contents
- You can use a whole chicken and cut that into 8 parts. Or you could use bone-in chicken pieces, thighs or drumsticks, or a mixture of the two.
- I don’t often skin the chicken when cooking it, but I do that when cooking a stew. I like the skin a lot when it is crispy and spicy, but I wouldn’t say I like it when it is soft and floppy, and that’s how it will become when braised and almost immersed in much sauce.
- The skinning is optional, do as you like. I recommend removing the skin, but that is my preference. Read on to find out how you can use the leftover skin.
Korean Gochujang paste:
- An essential ingredient, the only one that might require an Asian grocery store (or the internet) to buy it.
- The Gochujang paste is a fermented condiment – hot pepper paste – containing chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.
- It comes in several heat degrees, so you might want to pay attention to that when purchasing the Korean chili paste.
- I used a medium Gochujang paste.
- I bought this paste to make the Korean chicken wings and the oven-baked chicken drumsticks with honey; I still have some; it keeps well in the fridge.
- Other ingredients:
- The rest of the ingredients are basic and easy to find just about anywhere.
- In case you cannot find or want to buy a bottle of rice vinegar, you can use cider vinegar instead; cider vinegar is mild-flavored vinegar that will not overpower the dish.
- Mix the sauce ingredients (1 1/4 cups water, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, vinegar) in a large pot. It should be wide and not too tall, a thick-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, a pot large enough to hold all the meat pieces in a single layer. Whisk in the Gochujang paste and the honey, and add the chili flakes and the pepper.
- Skin the chicken pieces (if desired) and place the parts in the pot (1). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer on medium heat, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- Add the chopped vegetables (potato chunks, onion, carrots, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger), stir well, cover again (2), and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the Gochujang sauce is slightly thickened.
- Thicken the sauce if desired with a small amount of cornstarch slurry (optional).
- Finish the dish: Stir in the sesame oil, check the seasoning and sprinkle the Korean chicken stew with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds just before serving.
- If you don’t like wasting the skin of the chicken, you can cut it into small pieces and render their fat in a small pot.
- Place the finely chopped skin in a small thick-bottomed pot or saucepan and render the fat on very low heat until the skin pieces are golden and crispy and the fat surrounds them.
- Strain the fat through a small sieve into a small jar, let it cool, and refrigerate.
- Place the crispy skin pieces onto kitchen paper, which will absorb the extra fat, salt them and enjoy them very fresh, either on top of the chicken stew, on a salad, or just like that. They are best eaten fresh; they become soft after a while.
- You can use the rendered fat instead of oil or butter when cooking, and you can even smear it thinly on fresh bread, sprinkle it with salt, and enjoy it as it is.
How to store?
- Refrigerate the Korean spicy chicken stew in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat well before serving.
- I don’t recommend freezing the stew. Frozen potatoes are not nice once defrosted and reheated.
How to serve?
- We served the Korean chicken stew with kimchi, but a green salad with vinaigrette dressing would also be great.
More Asian dishes
Spicy Korean Chicken Stew
- Large Dutch oven or thick-bottomed pot
- 1 ½ cups water 12 fl.oz/ 350 ml
- ¼ cups soy sauce 2 fl.oz/ 60 ml
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar Note 1
- 1-2 tablespoons Korean Gochujang paste Note 2
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2.5 lbs chicken thighs 1,2 kg
- 1 lb potatoes 450 g
- 2 carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 thumb-size piece of ginger
- 1 tablespoon corn starch optional, Note 3
- 1-2 tablespoons cold water optional
- 2 scallions
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- fine sea salt
- Combine sauce ingredients: Use a wide, thick-bottomed pot or Dutch oven that will hold all the chicken pieces in one single layer. Place the water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Gochujang paste, honey, chili flakes, and pepper into the pot. Whisk well.
- Cook chicken: Skin the chicken pieces and arrange them in the pot in a single layer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- Prepare vegetables: In the meantime, peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks. Cut the carrots and the onion into chunks as well. Peel the garlic cloves and chop them finely. Peel and grate the ginger.
- Cook vegetables: Add the prepared vegetable to the pot and stir to make sure that they are all mixed in the sauce. Cover again and cook for further 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the lid from the pot and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Thicken sauce: If you like your sauce to be thicker, you can thicken it with a small amount of cornstarch slurry. Mix 1 tablespoons corn starch with 1-2 tablespoons cold water to form a thick yet still runny paste. Whisk this slurry into the boiling sauce, let bubble shortly, and remove the pot from the heat.
- Adjust taste: Stir in the sesame oil, check the seasoning, and sprinkle the chicken stew with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds just before serving.
- Cider vinegar can be used instead.
- Use Gochujang paste according to taste. My paste is medium, yet so hot I cannot use more than one tablespoon if I want the kids to be able to eat with us.
- You will only need the corn starch slurry (made with corn starch and water) if you desire your sauce to be thicker. Otherwise, you can leave this step out.