Soy-Free Korean-Not-Bulgogi Chicken

Food, Uncategorized
Korean Style Chicken Stir Fry

This recipe is comin’ atcha…late, like super late on a day that I wasn’t even scheduled to release a post. Life has pulled me in so many directions over the past couple weeks and I’ve gotten a bit behind. It’s a stage of adulthood that feels like a constant juggling act. Not like a GOOD juggling act, though, like the one where it’s just a middle-schooler who’s learning to juggle. They’re embarrassed at the number of balls they can juggle so they keep adding 1-2 more than they can actually successfully keep in the air. So the balls drop and the juggler dodges and dives and before long, all of the balls are on the floor. Shew. Yep, that’s pretty much how life has felt for me the past few weeks.

I mention all of this to say: thank you for coming back after my absence! Thank you for hanging around! (I promise this recipe is worth it!)

Several weeks ago, I set out to make “Chicken Bulgogi” as I’ve had it several times and it’s amazing! Unfortunately, I’m allergic to soy so traditional “Chicken Bulgogi” comes with hefty side effects for my brief enjoyment. So as any good aspiring recipe creator would, I researched and practiced my own bulgogi sauce to create a better-for-you Korean-style Chicken Recipe.

A little background: I sought out to create “Chicken Bulgogi.” My husband, who has been deployed to South Korea a couple times during his Army career, and I were discussing how in Korea near the Army base all types of meat are labeled “Bulgogi.” Everything is labeled “bulgogi” to the extent that he assumed bulgogi was more the method than the dish. Street food, barbecue joints, and random houses that little old grandmas cook in the back and call a restaurant in the front, all have many forms of “bulgogi.” We tried to figure out what the word “bulgogi” meant but didn’t have much luck so I decided I’d ask my coworker who is Korean.

The next day at lunch, I mentioned to him that I was working on a chicken bulgogi recipe and we were curious what bulgogi actually meant. He sort of chuckled and said, “you’re making chicken bulgogi?”

“Yes, well sort of, it’s my own rendition but we were wondering what bulgogi meant.” He chuckled again before explaining that “bul” = beef, so it’s not possible to make chicken bulgogi. Apparently, it’s another example of things being oversimplified for tourists/visiting soldiers!

In any case, this Korean-style Chicken stir-fry dish is wholesome, healthy, and meal preps wonderfully! I will admit, this one is far from a “quick, one-pan” dinner but it is SO worth it. You won’t regret this fresh and tasty Korean Inspired dish!

Korean Inspired Lunch prep

Ingredients:

For the pickled carrots:

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 cups shredded carrots

For the chicken:

  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (or 4 fresh cloves, minced)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 4-6 chicken thighs (about 1-1.5 pounds), cut into small bite-sized pieces

For the cilantro-lime drizzle:

  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil

For serving:

  • julienned cucumbers
  • cooked rice

Procedure:

  1. Whisk together 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of honey, salt, and 2 tablespoons each of avocado oil and water before pouring the mixture over the shredded carrots in a jar.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour. (This step works really well if you do it the night before.) If you enjoy pickled carrots to top other things as well, make a larger batch – they’ll keep for several weeks due to the acidity!
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut aminos, honey, rice vinegar, garlic powder, ginger, and black pepper. Add chicken thighs and marinate for one hour or overnight in the refrigerator. Note: make sure the chicken is well-coated in the sauce. I recommend using a large stasher bag or a shallow dish to allow as much of the chicken to touch the sauce as possible.
  4. Add cilantro, garlic, lime juice and avocado oil to a blender or food processor. Run until well blended into a drizzly sauce.
  5. Wait for your stuff to marinate. The hardest part, to be honest. 😦
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a large skillet.
  7. Cook marinated chicken thighs until completely cooked (165 degrees fahrenheit if you’re using a thermometer) about 10 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces!
  8. Assemble your masterpiece: layer rice, chicken, cucumbers, pickled carrots, and cilantro lime drizzle

Not the quickest meal I’ve shared on Bites With Beth but definitely a flavor bomb you’ve got to try!! This is definitely a crowd-pleaser for anyone who likes Asian food. You can make this to impress your friends at dinner, buuut if I’m being honest, you might want to be selfish with your hard work and enjoy it all work-week long as your meal prep!

Either way, you won’t regret giving this recipe a try!