Dakdoritang, or Korean spicy chicken stew, is a delicious and healthy dish that will warm your soul. It’s complete with juicy braised chicken thigh with flavorful vegetables braised in a sweet and spicy braising sauce. While its definitely delicious, but is dakdoritang healthy?
Dakdoritang can be a very healthy dish given that it predominantly consists of protein from the chicken. A serving of dakdoritang is 430 calories, with 31 grams of protein, 19 grams of fat, and 48 grams of carbs, following the recipe and portions below. However, the key to making this dish help rather than hinder progress towards your fitness goals is choosing the right cut of chicken and portioning the sauce mindfully.
Dakdoritang Calories and Nutrition Facts – How To Make It Healthy
Similar to many dishes from Korean cuisine, Dakdoritang is usually eaten family-style, so it’s hard to parse out the exact “average calorie count” per serving since it is highly dependent on how much you eat. A quick search will actually tell you that the dish is not that high in calories, which can be misleading since it usually will refer to a relatively small portion that will likely not be filling enough for a full meal.
In this case, it's useful to look at the core ingredients that make up a classic dakdoritang recipe. Dakdoritang is made of three main components: chicken, vegetables, and the sauce or base of the stew.
- Chicken: Dakdoritang is often cooked with bone-in skin on chicken pieces. While very delicious, this is less than ideal from a calorie counting and macros point of view. A 4oz serving of skin-on chicken thigh has 240 calories, 19g of which are from fat. I opt for skinless thighs to cut down on fat and calories.
- Soup Base: The sauce can be very oily, but with careful portioning of sauce ingredients following the portions below, the sauce is only 70 calories
- Vegetables: The vegetables are not going to add a significant amount of calories to the dish except for potatoes, which dakdoritang is traditionally served with. I omitted potatoes here since I used noodles and prefer that as my carb source.
- Carbs: Serve with a portioned side of rice or mix in noodles. Here I used a 3oz portion of egg noodles at 180 calories.
Looking at each component, it’s easy to see that dakdoritang can easily be made to be a high calorie and high fat dish if not portioned correctly, making it less than ideal for dieting purposes.
However, it’s not hard to make it low calorie and macro conscious. In this recipe, I utilized the flavors of dakdoritang by using the same spices to marinate the chicken while cutting down on calories from other sources that are less nutritious and/or flavorful, such as the chicken skin and potatoes.
For a detailed breakdown of each ingredients, their portioning, and how they make up the nutrition profile of this dakdoritang recipe, you may refer to the table below:
If you liked this recipe, check out the following:
- Korean Oxtail Soup
- Healthy Soondubu Recipe
- Healthy Chicken Kimchi Fried Rice
- Healthy Chicken Kalguksu
- Healthy Korean food guide
Chicken – Dakdoritang is traditionally made with bone in skin on chicken pieces. Given that those are much higher in calories in fats from the skin, I opted to use skinless bone-in chicken here so that we can still get the flavor from the bone.
Braising sauce – Consists of soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil (use sparingly cause its very fatty), gochugaru, and gochujang
Vegetables – Carrots, mushrooms, onions, and garlic are delicious to simmer into the dish. Potatoes are also a popular choice in traditional recipes. For purposes of keeping calories low, I omitted potatoes.
Carbs – Given how flavorful the spicy chicken stew is, it is often paired with a side of rice or mixed with noodles. I used egg noodles, but glass noodles, brown rice, or white rice would work as well.
Garnish – I used furikake and green onions to garnish. Chili flakes would be delicious as well for an extra kick.
Step by Step Instructions
Make the sauce – Start by mixing all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
Prepare for braising – Prepare all the vegetables by mincing the onion, garlic, and Thai chili and slicing the mushrooms and carrot. Cut the excess fat off the chicken thigh, cut into bite sized pieces, and season with salt and pepper.
Sauté aromatics and chicken – Put the instant pot on sauté mode and add in minced garlic, thai chili and onion. Add in the chicken pieces and brown on each side, about 1 minute each side.
Turn on high pressure – Turn off sauté mode and add in the mushrooms and carrots. Pour in the sauce and about ¾ to 1 cup of water. Close the instant pot and set to high pressure for 8 minutes.
Add the egg noodles – When the dakdoritang is done cooking, add in the egg noodles and turn on sauté mode to cook the noodles.
Garnish and serve – Garnish with scallions and furikake and enjoy your delicious meal!
Sides to serve with – Since dakdoritang is very savory, it's best with a portioned amount of carbs or lightly seasoned veggies
Use skinless bone-in chicken pieces if possible – This will allow us to get the nutrients and delicious flavor from the bone to make the broth without the additional fat of the chicken skin
Adjust gochugaru (chili flakes) to spice preference – Use more if you want it spicier, or less if you want it more mild. If you really want a strong kick, you can sauté a chopped Thai chili with the garlic.
Add more water if needed – If the stock is not enough after pressure cooking, deglaze with water and sauté to mix everything together thoroughly
Substitutions and Variations
Make stove top – To make stovetop, follow the same instructions. Instead of pressure cooking, add 1 cup of water (instead of ⅓) and bring to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Make with chicken breast – I like chicken thigh since it’s juicier without much additional calories, but you can also make it with chicken breast.
Use boneless chicken – Boneless chicken will work as well, although the flavor won’t be quite as good.
Make it with tofu – For a vegetarian friendly version, make it with tofu instead of chicken.
Make with noodles – Egg noodles and glass noodles are some good options.
Non-Spicy Version – Just omit the gochugaru. Still keep the gochujang - it is not spicy and is essential for the stew flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, as long as ingredients are portioned properly. I achieve this by using a combination of food scale and measuring cups. Most of the calories from this dish will come from the chicken itself, followed by the sauce. The total calories in the sauce, portioned according to the amounts below, add up to only 70 calories.
Yes, you can make this without an instant pot or pressure cooker. This is also great to make on a stove top. To make on stovetop, follow the directions for instant pot but in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes instead of cooking on high pressure.
Traditionally, dakdoritang uses skin on chicken pieces. For this recipe, my goal was to keep calories low with high protein content, so I used boneless skinless chicken thigh. You can also opt for chicken breast if you prefer.
In this recipe, I used egg noodles, but dakdoritang would also go well with glass noodles. Shiritaki noodles are also a great low calorie option. You can also opt to pair it with 1 serving of rice (¼ cup uncooked for brown rice) for a similar calorie count. Or if you are looking to go the low-carb route, you can choose to omit carbs altogether.
You can store this in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
Dakdoritang Instant Pot Recipe
- Instant Pot
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon Mirin
- 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
- 1 teaspoon Gochugaru (Adjust based on spice tolerance)
- 1 teaspoon Gochujang
Chicken and Stew Ingredients
- 4 oz Chicken thigh (Boneless, skinless)
- 1 Thai chili (Optional: Based on spice preference)
- ½ cup Water
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Yellow Onion (Diced)
- 1 serving Egg noodles (3 oz)
- 1-2 Mushrooms (Sliced)
- 1 Carrot (Sliced)
- Scallions and furikake (For garnish)
Nutrition & Macros
- 430 Calories
- 31 g Protein
- 19 g Fat
- 48 g Carbs
- Start by mixing all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
- Prepare all the vegetables by mincing the onion, garlic, and Thai chili and slicing the mushrooms and carrot. Cut the excess fat off the chicken thigh, cut into bite sized pieces, and season with salt and pepper.
- Put the instant pot on sauté mode and add in minced garlic, thai chili and onion. Add in the chicken pieces and brown on each side, about 1 minute each side.
- Turn off sauté mode and add in the mushrooms and carrots. Pour in the sauce and about ¾ to 1 cup of water. Close the instant pot and set to high pressure for 8 minutes.
- While the dakdoritang is cooking, prepare the egg noodles and set aside.
- Once the dakdoritang is ready, release the pressure and pour the stew over the noodles.
- Garnish with scallions and furikake and enjoy your delicious meal!