I tend to like things spicier than Jake does, but there are some dishes where he agrees that the flavor is worth the spice. Dakgalbi is one of those dishes – especially the kind with cheese. (And honestly, this one isn’t THAT spicy.) If you’re not sure where to find the Korean rice cakes, our usual go-to is the freezer section at H-Mart. I had a bit of mozzarella left from another recipe, but it wasn’t enough. I also had a bit of gruyere. I combined them to make the total cheese needed to top this stir fry, and I think it may have increased the depth of flavor. Because sometimes things work out when you make do with what’s on hand.
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
2 Tbsp. gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine
1 Tbsp. gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. ginger
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 c. cabbage, diced
1 carrot, sliced on a diagonal
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into half-coins
2 c. tteok (Korean rice cakes)
3 scallions, green section only, cut into rings
1 c. mozzarella cheese grated
1 head of lettuce, broken into individual leaves, for serving
perilla leaves, for serving
garlic, sliced, for serving
ssamjang, for serving
Place the cubed chicken in a quart-sized zipper-topped bag. Add the gochujang, garlic, soy, rice wine, gochugaru, sugar, sesame oil, and ginger. Seal the bag and squish the ingredients together until the chicken is uniformly coated. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight).
Place the vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet and set to medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cabbage, carrot, sweet potato, rice cakes and marinated chicken. Cook for 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Steam, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients are cooked through. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Sprinkle the scallions on top, then sprinkle the cheese in a wide line across the middle of the skillet. Allow the cheese to melt then serve with white rice, or with perilla leaves, sliced garlic, ssamjang (spicy dipping sauce) and lettuce to wrap.