Delight your taste buds with the umami, sweet, and spicy flavors in this Korean-style chicken dish. Serve my moist and tender Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs over jasmine rice. It's quick and easy enough for a weeknight, and exotic enough to steal the show at your next dinner party! This post first appeared on Pressure Cooking Today where I'm a contributor.
What is Gochujang?
Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs features Korean gochujang paste - an umami rich paste made with red chile, fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, and salt. Traditionally, the mixture was naturally fermented in earthen pots outdoors at home. That process has been replaced by commercial production in modern times.
Gochujang is used in traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap and bulgogi. It is widely available in the U.S. in both Asian markets and grocery stores that carry a good variety of international products. Having become something of an addiction for me, I keep a carton in my refrigerator at all times...
My cooking style depends on a well-stocked pantry. I keep a list of pantry ingredients on hand, and when I run low on any of those items, they immediately go on a phone app called OurGroceries. All of the items that go into this dish are on that list: Gochujang, hoisin sauce, ketchup (I make my own most of the time), mirin, soy sauce or tamari, rice wine, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, whole garlic, chicken broth. Given that I keep chicken in the freezer, I can whip this up with basically no planning ahead.
Making Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs
My work flow goes like this: Whisk the ingredients together for the BBQ sauce. Brown the chicken, and saute the onions, ginger, and garlic. Combine them in the pressure cooker.
Add broth to about half of the BBQ sauce, and whisk it together. Pour over the chicken. Pressurize on high for 15 minutes, and then release pressure. Stir the cornstarch into about 1/4 cup of broth or water. In a medium saucepan, add the cornstarch mixture a little at a time to about 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Bring it to a boil.
When the liquid is thickened as desired, add in the reserved 1 cup of BBQ sauce. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tender chicken pieces to a platter. Pour the sauce over the top, and garnish with the chopped scallions. Serve the chicken with jasmine rice.
If gochujang sounds interesting - and delicious - you might also enjoy my Korean-Style Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork Wraps With Asian Slaw & Kimchi. Once you taste this flavorful ingredient, I'm certain you'll be adding it to your well-stocked pantry list!
If you're looking for something new to make in your pressure cooker but you've not yet been able to find gochujang, you might try my Pressure Cooker Braised Lamb Shanks & Couscous. A pressure cooker is a great way to "beat the heat" by not heating up your oven!
Korean BBQ Sauce
- 1/2 cup gochujang paste
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup, (see notes)
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, I like tamari
- 1/4 cup sake rice wine
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup broth or water
Korean BBQ Sauce
- Whisk the ingredients (gochujang through garlic) together in a medium bowl. Remove and set aside 1 cup for finishing the sauce.
- Using the pressure cooker or a pan on the stove, brown the chicken pieces on both sides in the vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Add the onion, ginger, and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the chicken pieces and onion mixture to the pressure cooker.
- Mix the chicken broth with the Korean BBQ sauce remaining in the prep bowl (after removing 1 cup). Add to the pressure cooker with the chicken.
- Lock the lid, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Release the pressure.
- Remove 1 cup of cooking liquid to a medium sauce pan. Mix the cornstarch with broth or water. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil, and add the cornstarch slurry a bit at a time until thickened as desired. Add in the reserved BBQ sauce. Stir until combined and bubbly.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken pieces to a platter. Pour the sauce over the top, and garnish with slice scallions. Serve with jasmine rice.
"Ketchup" - I don't like store bought ketchup. I use Gochujang Spicy Ketchup rather than "ketchup." You can also substitute tomato sauce and sriracha.
I like bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe (bone-in adds more flavor). Substitute boneless thighs or chicken breasts if you prefer. If I have time, I let the pressure cooker de-pressurize naturally. It results in an even more tender result.
Disclaimer: I use both an electric pressure cooker (Pressure Cooker XL) and a stovetop pressure cooker, and have for many years. Instant Pot is trending, and I want you to be able to find my recipes...
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 324 calories; 32 g protein; 4 g carbohydrates; 11 g fat. Does not include rice. This recipe serves 6 with about 5 ounces chicken each. If you're planning 2 thighs per person, the calories will increase accordingly.
Note: This dish is impossible to quantify, but Google search demands calories. The liquid required by the pressure cooker means it is very saucy. It doesn't all get eaten. I reduced the vegetable oil for browning the chicken to 1 tablespoon to cut some fat. My pressure cooker has a non-stick surface, and it works with just a bit of oil. Adjust as necessary. Save additional cooking liquid and/or sauce for another meal, or use more chicken...
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 324Total Fat: 11gCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 32g