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Korean Fire Chicken (Cheese Buldak) - It features chunky, juicy chicken swamped in a chili sauce with chewy rice cakes and melty cheese. It contains all the essence of a pizza and it’s addictively good. It’s extremely easy to put together and takes no time to make. If you’re looking for a quick one-pan dinner recipe, look no further! {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Korean Fire Chicken (Cheese Buldak)

5 from 4 votes
I call this fire chicken “Korean pizza”. It features chunky, juicy chicken swamped in a chili sauce with chewy rice cakes and melty cheese. It contains all the essence of a pizza and it’s addictively good. It’s extremely easy to put together and takes no time to make. If you’re looking for a quick one-pan dinner recipe, look no further! {Gluten-Free adaptable}
The recipe is slightly adapted from the Cheese Buldak from Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine.
It yields two big servings, or 4 small servings if you intend to serve it with various other dishes, family style. Although I could eat the whole thing myself. Double the recipe if you need to serve 4 people, or if you want leftovers (believe me, you want leftovers).
To make the dish gluten-free, use tamari or coconut aminos to replace the soy sauce. Make sure the Gochujang brand you use is gluten-free.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: comfort food
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Korean hot pepper flakes gochu-garu (*Footnote 1)
  • 2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil , seperated
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (*Footnote 2)
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger , minced
  • 1 lb (450 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) , cut to 3/4” (2 cm) cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (use 1/4 teaspoon if using shredded cheese) (*Footnote 3)
  • 1/3 cup mochi rice cakes , sliced (*Footnote 4)
  • 8 oz. (225 g) mozzarella cheese , sliced thin (or shredded mozzarella cheese)

Instructions

  • Combine the hot pepper flakes, hot pepper paste, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, black pepper, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the chicken. Mix with a spoon until it’s evenly coated.
  • Heat a medium-sized oven-safe skillet (*Footnote 5) over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the rice cakes. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turning with a spatula, until the edges of the rice cakes turn light golden. Transfer the rice cakes to a small bowl.
  • Add the chicken, salt, and 1/4 cup of water into the same skillet. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the rice cakes and stir to mix well. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.
  • While the chicken is cooking, preheat the broiler in the oven, with the rack positioned on the middle level.
  • Spread the mozzarella cheese over the chicken. Transfer the skillet into the oven under the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted completely, bubbling and lightly charred. You should keep an eye on it closely. It took me 3 minutes to melt the cheese, but you should check on it every minute or two.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes to let the cheese set. Serve hot as a main dish.
  • The dish can be made in advance and warmed up in a 350 °F (176 °C) oven. You can heat up the leftovers in the microwave or in the oven.

Notes

  1. It might sound like a lot of chili pepper flakes. But as long as you use the Korean chili flakes, the result won’t be too spicy. If you do not have Korean chili flakes, I would use a combination of paprika and some other type of chili flakes as an alternative. The blend will depend on the type of chili powder you use and the desired spiciness. As a general guide, I would use 3 tablespoons of paprika powder, and 1 tablespoon or less of chili flakes (or powder).
  2. Maangchi’s recipe calls for 1/4 cup of rice syrup or 3 tablespoons of sugar. I’ve tried both but ended up liking the result made with sugar more. Rice syrup is hard to find and can be expensive, even in a grocery store. So I highly recommend you save yourself the trouble and use sugar instead.
  3. The original recipe doesn’t use any salt. However, I think the salt is very important to bring out the flavor of the chicken and sauce. You should use less salt if using shredded cheese, which usually tastes saltier than fresh mozzarella.
  4. The original recipe calls for 3 ounces of rice cake, which is only a few slices. I love the rice cake texture in the dish and increased the amount.
  5. I used a 10” Finex cast iron pan (smaller than a 10” round pan) and it was the perfect size. A 9” round pan is perfect for cooking this dish, as well. You can use a 10” pan, but the chicken will form a very thin layer. Avoid using a pan bigger than 10”, because the chicken won't be enough to cover the bottom of the pan completely.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 466kcal, Carbohydrates: 17.7g, Protein: 39.8g, Fat: 26.2g, Saturated Fat: 9.6g, Cholesterol: 101mg, Sodium: 875mg, Potassium: 213mg, Fiber: 1.1g, Sugar: 10.6g, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 1mg