This buldak recipe is a popular Korean street food made with chicken cooked in a fiery gochujang sauce, often topped with melty cheese, easy to make!
We're cooking up a delicious pan of Buldak in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends.
If you're a spicy food lover, you're doing to greatly enjoy this recipe. Buldak is a fiery food lover's dream dish. It's not only spicy and huge on flavor, it's also very easy to make.
Never heard of buldak? You will, as it is quickly growing in popularity.
What is Buldak?
Buldak is a popular Korean spicy chicken dish served as a street food or light meal. Either bone-in or boneless chicken is marinated in a fiery sauce made from gochujang and Korean chili flakes, then typically grilled or fried.
The name literally translates to "fire chicken", so it will definitely satisfy your spicy food cravings.
The dish is usually served with melted cheese over the top, though you can skip it if you'd like.
The keys ingredients to making this dish are Korean gochujang, a fermented Korean chili paste, and gochugaru, Korean chili flakes.
I highly encourage you to acquire some as soon as possible, as they are both wonderful ingredients for making a number of spicy dishes, and essential in my own kitchen.
This recipe is an easy way to make it in a pan with bite-sized chunks of chicken so you can include lots of cheese, though feel free to use larger bone-in pieces of chicken that you can grill.
Let's talk about how to make buldak, shall we?
- Chicken. I am using boneless chicken thighs for this recipe, though you can use bone-in if you'd like. Chicken breast is great, too.
- Gochugaru. Korean hot pepper flakes. Use a spicy chili powder as an alternative, like hot paprika or cayenne.
- Gochujang. Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste. You can find different varieties ranging from mild to hot. I prefer the hot variety, though you can use a milder product.
- Soy Sauce.
- Oils. Vegetable oil and sesame oil.
- Rice Syrup. Use honey or corn syrup as an alternative.
- Spicy Chili Peppers. Optional, for some extra heat factor.
- Garlic and Ginger.
- Salt and Black Pepper. To taste.
- Chicken Stock. Or just a bit of water.
- Mozzarella Cheese. Optional, for a popular cheesy topping.
- For Garnish. Fresh chopped parsley or green onions, extra hot pepper flakes, sesame seeds.
How to Make Buldak - the Recipe Method
Make the Buldak Sauce. In a large bowl, mix together the gochugaru, gochujang, soy sauce, vegetable oil, sesame oil, rice syrup, chilies, garlic, ginger, and salt and pepper to form a thick paste.
This buldak sauce/marinade is the key to this recipe's amazing flavor.
Marinate the Chicken. Add the chicken (cut into bite-sized pieces) and mix to coat each piece of chicken.
Cover and refrigerate the buldak chicken at least 1 hour.
Cook the Chicken. Heat a large oven proof pan (cast iron pan) to medium heat.
Add the chicken with the marinade, and water or chicken stock.
Simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
The marinade/sauce should reduce a bit. Remove lid.
You can serve it at this point if you'd like.
Or, top it with cheese! It's very popular this way!
Prep for the Cheesy Topping. Set oven to BROIL.
Top the chicken with shredded mozzarella cheese and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted to your preference and begins to brown.
Serve It Up! Remove and garnish with your preferred toppings. I like spicy chili flakes and maybe some fresh chopped herbs or green onion.
Boom! Done! Your buldak is ready to serve. Easy enough to make, isn't it? Are you serving yours with or without cheese? What's your preference?
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Chicken Options. It is easy to make this as an appetizer or party food snack with chopped boneless chicken, but you can use bone-in chicken. Chop it or cook it whole. For boneless, you can use chicken thighs or chicken breast, or a mixture of both.
- Alternate Cooking Methods. Consider pan frying your chicken instead for a crispier texture, or use whole chicken pieces for grilling.
- Adjust the Buldak Sauce. You can easily adjust your sauce/marinade to your preference. Add more gochujang if you'd like, or add in spicier elements, like fiery sriracha or other hot sauce.
- Rice Cakes. Korean rice cakes, garae-tteok, are a popular addition for texture. If you'd like to add them, lightly saute them in oil, then top the buldak chicken before adding the cheese layer.
- Buldak Ramen. Buldak has become popular in the U.S. from products like Buldak Ramen that you can buy online or find in the grocery store. Use this to make a homemade buldak ramen.
This recipe will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. I personally would skip the cheese if you want to make this ahead, then melt the cheese on top when you're ready to serve it.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this fiery buldak recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you, and if you decided to spice it up!
If you enjoy Korean recipes and cooking, check out the following cookbook. Highly recommended!
- Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking, by Maangchi with Lauren Chattman (affiliate link, my friends) – this book is the inspiration for this recipe, along with Chef Tila's book below.
- Also, check out my own cookbook, “The Spicy Food Lovers’ Cookbook – Fiery, No-Fuss Meals”, by Mike Hultquist (affiliate link, my friends!)
Products Used in This Recipe
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Buldak Recipe (Korean Fire Chicken)
- 1.5 pounds boneless chicken thighs chopped into bite-sized pieces (you can use chicken breasts)
- 1/4 cup gochugaru Korean hot pepper flakes
- ¼ cup gochujang I use the hot variety
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon rice syrup or use honey or corn syrup
- 2-3 spicy Korean chili peppers chopped (or use other small spicy red chilies)
- 6 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup water or chicken stock
- 2 cups ounces mozzarella cheese shredded (optional)
- For Garnish. Fresh chopped parsley or green onions, extra hot pepper flakes
- In a large bowl, mix together the gochugaru, gochujang, soy sauce, vegetable oil, sesame oil, rice syrup, chilies, garlic, ginger, and salt and pepper to form a thick paste.
- Add the chicken and mix to coat each piece of chicken. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Heat a large oven proof pan (cast iron pan) to medium heat. Add the chicken with the marinade, and water or chicken stock.
- Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. The marinade/sauce should reduce a bit. Remove lid.
- Set oven to BROIL.
- Top the chicken with shredded mozzarella cheese and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted to your preference and begins to brown.
- Remove, garnish, and serve!