Warning: This is not your ordinary barbecued chicken. Here, grilled Korean-style spicy smoky chicken with a hint of sweetness (dak bulgogi) is nestled in refreshingly crisp iceberg lettuce cups, topped with a white seaweed salad dressed with garlicky mayonnaise and sesame seeds, then finished with slices of scallion and herbaceous ribbons of perilla.
The chicken marinade’s main ingredient is gochujang - a Korean red chili paste with sweet heat and a fermented umami richness. It is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried Korean red peppers.
The chicken is served in “under-appreciated” iceberg lettuce cups. Iceberg is the perfect vehicle for transporting the chicken – the leaves are pliable, just the right size, with a beautiful pale green color, and adequate crunch. My unique white seaweed salad is made of crunchy springy kelp noodles. Perilla (wild sesame leaf) is sliced into thin ribbons and sprinkled over the chicken, adding a complex herby flavor. It’s all very fresh and summery. Low-carb too.
Korean BBQ Chicken, Lettuce Cups Recipe
BBQ Chicken Marinade:
- 4 T. gochujang (Korean red chile paste)
- 2 T. mirin (high quality, not high fructose)
- 2 T. brown sugar
- 1 T. sesame oil
- 1 1/2 T. lime juice
1. Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Slice 2 lbs. chicken thighs into approximate 3 inch pieces.
3. Add chicken to the marinade and stir to coat.
4. Refrigerate to marinate at least one hour.
5. Oil a perforated grill pan then place it on the barbecue grill.
6. When the pan is hot, use tongs to add the chicken.
7. Cook chicken, turning once, until it is cooked through and has a nice char.
8. Serve the chicken with iceberg lettuce cups.
- white seaweed salad
- sliced scallions and chiffonade of perilla
- steamed rice
- napa cabbage kimchi
- bek se ju dry
We enjoyed this chicken dish with cold Bek Se Ju DRY, a Korean glutinous rice-based fermented alcoholic beverage infused with ginseng and several other herbs which is an especially good match for spicy BBQ chicken.