Recipe: Dakkalbi curry soju spaghetti sauce
Last Thursday (Oct. 22, 2009), I enticed my dear husband into the kitchen by his nose with the smell of dakkalbi sauce (used in Korean barbecued chicken; see also this post on the Chuncheon wings video). It’s a characteristic smell of Chuncheon, our Korean “hometown.”
But when he looked down at the skillet, instead of seeing chicken, garae ddeok (round rice cake), green onions and sweet potato fries cooking in a thick barbecue-type sauce, he saw diced chicken thighs cooking in a thin sort-of curry-colored sauce.
My dear husband asked me where I found the recipe for this dish.
“I just made it up off the top of my head.”
At that moment, he knew I was conscripting him for another one of my experiments and had the concerned expression on his face. He even took photos just before I served it just to make sure we had a record of the experiment — for good or bad.
As we sat down to the table, I was more anxious than usual for his response to my new spicy pasta dish. After he took a few bites, he realized he really liked the dish and commanded me to write down the basic recipe ASAP before I forgot it.
The second inspiration was I truly was in a hurry. I didn’t leave work until nearly 8 p.m. that day. I needed a make a quick dish for my very hungry husband. (He was chanting, a la the HungryPests.com commercial, “I’m here, and I’m hungry! I’m here….”)
I didn’t want to wait for rice to cook, so I made this a pasta dish rather than a rice dish. This hasty recipe seemed to have ended up rather tasty.
The inspiration for this sauce is the same dakkalbi sauce I have used in a few of my recipes. However, I tweaked the sauce a bit with curry powder for an added kick as well as water and a splash of soju (Korean distilled alcohol beverage) to get a suitably thin pasta sauce.
1–2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 lb. chicken thigh, diced into 1-inch square
3 tbsp. gochujang (Korean spicy red pepper paste)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. curry powder (salt free)
1 tbsp. Korean gochugaru (Korean spicy red pepper powder)
¼ cup soju
¼ cup water
1 tbsp. onion flakes
½ tsp. black pepper
1–2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame seed oil to finish
1 lb. pasta, cooked al dente (firm when bitten)
optional: garnish with toasted sesame seeds
If you use Ottogi or other brand of packaged curry sauce mix, consider omitting the soy sauce to reduce the saltiness and adding a little more soju.
- Dice 1 lb. of chicken thigh, fry in a little grapeseed or high-temperature oil until it’s about half-cooked.
- Add the garlic, gochujang, soju, soy sauce and water.
- Once bubbles start to form, add the rest of the seasonings, including onion flakes, black pepper and curry powder.
- Once the chicken is completely cooked, add the sesame oil, quickly stir the pasta into the sauce and serve.