This Instant Pot Korean Chicken Bulgogi Recipe is my weeknight, and pressure cooker friendly combination of two popular Korean dishes, Bibimbap and Bulgogi.
My family loves Korean food! Two dishes that we regularly order at a Korean restaurant are Bibimbap, which is a rice bowl with sautéed vegetables, meat and Gochujang (chili pepper paste), and, Bulgogi, which is basically Korean grilled meat, served with rice or lettuce cups.
Instead of the traditional pork bulgogi or beef bulgogi that is on Korean restaurant menus, I prefer making chicken bulgogi. This makes this homemade bulgogi dish a bit healthier.
How to make Bulgogi Marinade
I make the Bulgogi marinade by using Gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste), ginger, garlic, honey, onion and ground or grated pear. The pear tenderizes the meat and provides a subtle sweet flavor, which balances the heat from the Gochujang really well.
Making Chicken Bulgogi in the Instant Pot
I pressure cook the meat in my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Any pressure cooker will work great for this Korean recipe.
Stovetop Method: You can even do this in a skillet on the stove-top. Marinate the meat. Heat a heavy bottom skillet on medium high heat and dump everything in. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, remove lid and cook till chicken is tender and the sauce is thick to your liking.
Making Rice using Pot-in-Pot Method (PIP)
My kids like having white rice with Korean Spicy Chicken, so, I make it in the same pot using the pot-in-pot method.
Since white rice and chicken have the same cook time of 6 minutes, it is very easy to turn this into a one-pot meal with just a trivet and an oven safe bowl. Check out the video to see how to make this meal using Pot-in-Pot technique. Here are some PIP recipes.
Low-Carb Variation of this Korean Recipe
My husband and I like to have this Korean Chicken recipe over lettuce cups. The crisp lettuce contrasts really well with the spicy chicken. I have to tell you, this is one of the tastiest low-carb meals we make at home. The pickled cucumbers really bring the meal together.
Keep in mind that Gochujang has sugar in it, so chicken bulgogi is a bit high on carbs.
Banchan: Korean Pickled Condiments
Korean food is almost incomplete without an assortment of side dishes called Banchan. I make a few of them at home, including the Spicy Cucumber Salad called Oi Muchim. Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers work great for this dish.
How to Make Oi Muchim (Spicy Cucumber Salad)
Fresh and crunchy cucumbers, marinated in Gochujang, salt, vinegar and sesame oil, are a perfect condiment for this spicy chicken. This instant pickle bring this meal together beautifully!
To make Oi Muchim, slice the cucumbers thin and keep aside. Combine all the pickling ingredients listed under 'Spicy Cucumber Salad' and toss the cucumbers in. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. This time allows all the flavors to blend well. Serve it cold!
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Instant Pot Korean Spicy Chicken Bulgogi Recipe
- 1½ lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breast halves
- 2 teaspoons olive oil for cooking
- ¾ cup water adjust to cooker requirement
- ¼ cup Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Gochujang Korean chili paste
- 3 tablespoons Honey
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Paste
- 1 teaspoon Ginger Paste
- 2 tablespoons rice Vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 pear or fuji apple grated on microplane or blended
- ¼ teaspoon salt optional. Adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion sliced thin
Spicy Cucumber Salad- Oi Muchim
- 1 English cucumbers or 3-4 Persian Cucumbers
- ¼ white onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon green onions, very thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon garlic paste ½ garlic clove grated on microplane
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes) or gochujang
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar adjust to taste
- 1 cup white jasmine rice rinsed 2-3 times, till water runs clear
- 1¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
Low Carb Serving Suggestion
- 1 Butter lettuce head for Lettuce Cups
Oi Muchim (Spicy Cucumber Salad)
- If using an English cucumber, cut in half, lengthwise, and then cut diagonally into thin slices. If using Persian cucumbers, simply cut diagonally into thin slices. Slice onions and green onion, and grate half a garlic clove on a microplane.
- Combine all the pickling ingredients listed under 'Spicy Cucumber Salad' and toss the cucumbers and onions in it. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. This time allows all the flavors to blend well. Serve it cold!
- In a large mixing bowl, prepare marinade by mixing together everything listed under "marinade". Add chicken and mix well. Refrigerate chicken for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Heat oil in the Instant Pot on SAUTE mode. Add the chicken along with the marinade. Add very little water as the chicken and marinade would also release liquid while cooking. If you want to cook pot-in-pot rice, place a trivet in the center of the pot, on top of the chicken. In an oven-safe bowl, combine rinsed rice, water, and salt. Place that on top of the trivet.
- Close the lid and set the vent to sealing position. Hit Cancel. Select Manual or Pressure Cook and set the timer for 6 minutes at high pressure.
- When the cooking is done, wait for 10 minutes then manually release the pressure. When the pin drops, open the lid.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly. If you want to thicken the sauce, turn on SAUTE and simmer for 2-3 minutes until it thickens to your liking. Add the sliced chicken back to the pot and stir to coat it with the sauce.
- Serve with pickled cucumber over rice, or, lettuce cups for a low-carb option.
- You can make this bulgogi in a stovetop as well. Follow the steps above to marinate the chicken. Heat a heavy bottom skillet on medium high heat and dump everything in. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, remove lid and cook till chicken is tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking.