Korean barbecue depends on the quality of the marinade. Diners might not have the well-trained sense of a sommelier, but they will detect a difference even if they can’t identify exactly which ingredient they are noticing in a good or bad way.
There are two basic styles of marinades: acidic or enzymatic. Commonly used acidic marinades include citrus juice, such as orange or lemon juice, vinegar or wine. Enzymatic marinades include papaya or pineapple purees. The marinade’s jobs are to enrich the flavor of the meat and, depending on the cut, help tenderize it.
Herbs, oils and spices in the marinade tag along for the ride.
This particular marinade depends on the acid of the kimchi to flavor the chicken before grilling.
For many cravers of Korean cuisine, the word 닭갈비 dakgalbi is associated with commonly called 춘천 닭갈비 Chuncheon dakgalbi, a stir-fried dish of diced chicken with large rice noodles, cabbage, and sweet potato. Although dakgalbi is simpler than Chuncheon’s iconic variation, it’s very tasty in its own right.
There was enough sauce that I decided to serve it as a pasta sauce rather than on top of rice. It worked surprising well.