Tongdak: Whole Roasted Chicken


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  • Servings : 2 to 4
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 50m
  • Ready In : 1:20 h

by Deuki Hong & Matt Rodbard

This recipe and following excerpt is from the book Koreatown: A Cookbook
Book Review

When writing an “ethnic fusion” roasted chicken recipe, some recipe writers are inclined to go over-the-top Guy Fieri with a gochujang lacquer and a wasabi-mashed potato side dish bad boy. We take a slightly different approach. This is actually a classic dish served in Koreantowns at hofs-their interpretation of German-style beer halls. The bird,preferably organic, is stuffed with a distinctly Korean trio of whole garlic cloves, ginger and scallions. Once roasted in a cast-iron skillet, pair the tender meat with soy sauce-pickled vegetables, water radish kimchi and pretty much anything fermented. We’ve also included a really simple, spicy dipping sauce. It’s no Donkey Sauce, but we think our Guy would approve.



  • 1 organic chicken (about 3 pounds)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2-inch knob of ginger roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup gochujang
  • ¼ cup Frank's Red Hot
  • 1 cup assorted Quick Soy Sauce Pickles, for serving
  • 1 cup Water Radish Kimchi, for serving


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 450°F and heat a large cast-iron skillet in it for 30 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, rinse the chicken under clod water and pat very dry, inside and out, with paper towels.Season the inside of the chicken's cavity with salt and stuff with the garlic, ginger and scallions. Truss the chicken by tying the ends of the legs together with butcher's twine.

Step 3

Rub the chicken all over with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and season generously all over with salt and pepper. Remove the cast-iron skillet from the oven (careful, it's really hot!) and swirl in 1 tablespoon of oil; it will probably start smoking. Place the chicken, breast side up, in the cast-iron skillet and place in the oven.

Step 4

Roast the chicken for 40 to 50 minutes, until the juices run clear when you poke the thigh with a sharp knife. While the bird is roasting, combine the gochujang and Frank's Red Hot in a small bowl. (That's your dipping sauce. We took this idea from Dale Talde. Dale knows what is up.) When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes. Serve with Quick Soy Sauce Pickles and Water Radish Kimchi.

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