Korean Chicken

This is a great weeknight meal because it uses just a few simple ingredients, and you can do the majority of the cooking either the night before or the morning of your meal.  The chicken cooks in less than an hour with very little attention, and the flavor is amazing – spicy yet tangy at the same time.  This recipe is a good example of how easy it can be to cook Asian food at home that is as delicious (or even more delicious) than your favorite take-out.  One of these days, we ought to throw a dinner party featuring this dish and some of our other home-cooked Asian specialties.


The starring ingredient in our Korean chicken recipe is gochu jang, a spicy hot pepper paste popular in Korean cuisine.  This ingredient might be a little tricky to find.  If you have a pretty large Asian section in your local grocery store, they may carry it.  If not, look for an Asian specialty store in your area (we usually buy ours at a store called “Super H Mart” in Carrollton), or you might be able to find it online.


The first step in this recipe is to make the marinade for the chicken.  One of the ingredients is the white part of several green onions.  Save the green parts because you’ll use them later to garnish the chicken.


To finely chop up the white part of the onions, Dan starts by cutting them in half lengthwise.


Then finely chop the white parts and a little bit of the light green parts.


Add the chopped onion to a bowl for the marinade.


Next, finely chop some ginger root.  You should be able to find ginger in the produce section of your local grocery store.  Cut off a piece, peel it with a vegetable peeler, then chop it up into very small pieces.  The ginger is optional for this recipe, but we like it because it adds another layer of Asian flavor.


Add the ginger to the bowl.


Next, peel and finely chop the garlic.


Add the soy sauce.


Then add the sesame oil.


Finally, add the gochu jang — between 3 and 5 tablespoons, depending on how spicy you like your chicken.


Mix all the ingredients together.  When we make Korean Chicken, we usually make the marinade the night before and refrigerate it, in order to save a little time in the morning.


This is a truly versatile dish, as you can use any cut of chicken. We have used boneless chicken breasts, boneless thighs, and bone-in thighs, but pretty much any type of chicken would work.  We usually use bone-in thighs (a typically under-used and under-appreciated cut of chicken that is delicious and easy to cook without it drying out.)


Trim off any visible fat.  Dan uses his kitchen shears, a culinary tool that he highly recommends everyone have in their kitchen.  Just be sure to wash them thoroughly after each use.


If you are using chicken with skin on it, remove the skin and discard.


Put the chicken in a sealable bag and add the marinade.


Make sure all the chicken is coated with the marinade, then refrigerate for at least an hour, or all day.


When it’s time to cook the chicken, pour out the chicken and the marinade into a deep pan or pot.


Add about half a cup of water, and the marinade will become the sauce for the chicken as it cooks.


Cook over medium high heat until the sauce boils.


This would be a good time to start cooking your rice.  We usually use jasmine rice for this dish.  We love (and highly recommend) our rice cooker — it could not be easier to use and the rice comes out perfect every time.


Once the sauce boils, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for 35-45 minutes.  Turn the chicken occasionally while it cooks, to make sure it cooks evenly and is well coated with the sauce.  (Note, if you are using cut up, boneless chicken breasts, they’ll be done in 25-30 minutes.)  About halfway through the cooking time, uncover the chicken if the sauce still looks watered down.


Next, chop up the green parts of the green onions set aside earlier.


Dan chops his into pretty small pieces.


Add the green onions to the chicken, cover the pan, turn off the heat and let the chicken rest for 1-2 minutes.


We typically serve this dish over jasmine rice, with egg rolls on the side. (We use the frozen ones from the grocery store — homemade egg rolls on a weeknight are far too ambitious for us!)

Korean Chicken


  • 3-5 tablespoons Gochu Jang (Korean hot bean paste)
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, chopped (optional)
  • 6-8 green onions (scallions)
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs (can also use chicken breasts)

Finely chop the white and light green portions of the green onions and add them to a bowl.  (Save the remaining portions of the green onions to use later.)  Finely chop the ginger (if using) and the garlic and add them to the bowl.  Add the Gochu Jang, soy sauce and sesame oil, then mix all the ingredients together.  You can make up this marinade mixture the night before, and add the chicken in the morning.

Remove the skin from the chicken thighs, and cut away any visible fat.  Add the Gochu Jang mixture to a gallon sealable bag, add the chicken thighs, and mix around to make sure the thighs are thoroughly coated.  Store in the refrigerator at least an hour, or all day.

Add the chicken and sauce to a pot, stir in a half cup of water, and cook over medium high heat until the sauce boils.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 35-45 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally to make sure that it cooks evenly and is well coated.  About halfway through the cooking time, uncover the pot if the sauce still looks watered down.

Chop the green onion parts (the saved green parts), add to the chicken, cover, turn off the heat, and rest for 1-2 minutes.

Serve the chicken and sauce over rice.

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8 thoughts on “Korean Chicken

  1. This looks great. I love Asian food. All kinds. I’m not picky. I’ll take a look for this paste.
    Nice photos, too, as usual! I lust after your camera. And I don’t even know what it is.

    1. Thanks Persephone! I hope you find the paste – it’s a really good ingredient for Asian cooking. The secret to the photos is definitely the camera. It’s a Nikon D-90, and it does all the work. We also have a great lens that allows us to take shots in low light without sacrificing quality.

  2. We liked this recipe. We could not find Korean bean paste, so we used a Chili Sauce with Bean Paste instead. It turned out great. Very easy to make and tasted almost like restaurant flavor food. Thanks for the recipe!

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