Monday, April 2, 2012

Korean Chilli Chicken Stir Fry

Korean food is characteristically hot in a distinctive way. Gochujang is a fermented hot bean paste extensively used in Korean cooking, it’s very pungent and provides a rich, slightly sweet, spicy flavour to dishes that can be quite addictive.

Gochujang defines what Korean food is to me and it wouldn’t be the same without it, it’s similar to what fish sauce is to Vietnamese cuisine and miso to Japanese. Notice how all these are fermented foods and also loaded with umami! Fermented foods bring a really nice depth and complexity of flavour to dishes.

The fermentation of food preserves and transforms food, and is basically the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions (source: wikipedia). I recently discovered that Rene Redzepi, head chef of Noma, has a website/blog called Nordic Food Lab which explores and details findings on techniques and materials with relevance to New Nordic Cuisine. It’s currently looking at different types of fermentation and trying to classify them which is worth a read.

I wanted to have a Korean dish that I could cook when I wanted a Korean chilli hit which was also an easy after work dinner. I found a variety of different recipes for Korean chilli chicken on the internet and settled on trying Neil Perry’s recipe from the Rockpool blog. It’s very easy to cook and delicious, and I cook it quite often.

Korean Chilli Chicken Stir Fry
(Adapted from Neil Perry – Rockpool blog)

Notes: I added ginger to the sauce mix and reduced the amount of sesame oil used. After cooking this a few times I decided to add the carrots a bit later in the process so it retains more of a crunch. The original recipe uses 200g of chicken but I use 400g and I think it’s fine, the flavours are still strong.


(serves 4)

•    2 tbsp vegetable oil
•    400g chicken thigh fillets, sliced and marinated in a little salt and pepper
•    3 fresh red chillies, finely sliced into rounds
•    1 small brown onion, peeled and sliced
•    9 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed and caps thickly sliced
•    1 carrot, peeled and julienned
•    2 spring onions, finely chopped (for garnishing)
•    1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted and crushed
Chilli Sauce
•    3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot bean paste)
•    1-2 teaspoons red chilli powder (optional)
•    2 teaspoons light soy sauce
•    1 teaspoon grated ginger
•    1 tablespoon crushed garlic
•    1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion
•    1 teaspoon sugar
•    2 teaspoons sesame oil
•    Pinch freshly ground black pepper


In a bowl, mix together all the chilli sauce ingredients and set aside. 

Heat vegetable oil in a wok, add the chicken and stir fry until it browns and it almost cooked.

Add the fresh chillies, shallots, mushrooms and cook for a further minute. Add the carrots and the sauce, stir fry to coat all the chicken and bring to the boil.

Serve the chicken garnished with sesame seeds and spring onion.


  1. That looks amazing. So often people mention kimchi or Korean food and its this special chilli flavour that I get a craving for when I hear about it - there's just something about it! I think this is definately going to be on the list of after work dinners to try!

  2. I have become fascinated with Korean foods as of late. The colours in this dish are fabulous. I must buy some Gochujang and try it out. Nice work!

  3. I made this dish and everyone loved it. Next time, I think I will serve it with black sweet rice.

  4. I plan on trying this recipe during the week. It looks 1. easy and 2. delicious.

    Fingers crossed :)

  5. This was really good. I substituted fried tofu for the chicken and added de-seeded cucumber. Ok, I know what you're thinking. Cooked cucumber...eeewwww. You have got to try it. We have a local Korean restaurant that makes this adding the cucumber and asian sweet potato. AMAZING!!!!

    Here's my photo on facebook:

  6. I really love korean foods especially when it have lots of vegetables. I would really like to try this because it looks inviting. I will now copy this and cook this tomorrow.

    Easy Stir Fry

  7. the hot bean paste,is there a substitute or is it easy to get in
    perth,cant say iv seen it anywhere..thanks