Korean Chicken Tacos

Can I tell you something? Something that is pretty shocking especially in my line of work- I hate (well hate is a strong word)  but deeply dislike holiday food.  I know right!? How can that be? There are a couple of reasons. First, when you work in a test kitchen and have to develop recipes for Thanksgiving in the middle of July, the allure of holiday food kind of loses its appeal. Turkey and stuffing in July is just kind of weird. It also doesn't help that I never really know what time of year it is because I work about 6 months ahead when developing recipes - Christmas in August, Valentine's Day in October - it is kind of confusing when the real holiday finally comes around. Plus most of the time that holiday food just doesn't taste good. There I said it. Bam! But you know what always tastes good - tacos. If I could have a taco for every meal, I would and I would be completely happy.


I know I can't have tacos for Thanksgiving without starting a revolution (Even though last year I served short ribs instead of a turkey and no one complained) but I love the idea of either Christmas Dinner or Christmas Eve celebrating with a different type of food. A friend of mine who is a chef announced recently that he makes tamales every year for Christmas. It was all I could do to hold myself back from asking if I could come over too (we are not that good of friends). Whether it is Indian food or Chinese food, I love the idea of cooking something different around the holidays. Mixing it up a bit - plus if you make Mexican food you HAVE to have margaritas, so there is that. Tequila plus the holidays is always a good idea.

Here is my new favorite taco recipe - Korean Chicken Tacos. Korean tacos are a hybrid of Mexican and Korean food. They originated out of LA  as street food and usually have some type of Korean-inspired filling wrapped  in a corn tortilla. In this case, these Korean tacos have grilled marinated chicken, topped with a gochujang mayo and spicy slaw all in a corn tortilla. (gochujang, which is fermented red chili pepper paste is the new sriracha - this is my favorite line and it is delicious )

So if you haven't made your holiday plans how about switching it up a bit with some Korean tacos or just chinese takeout and who knows maybe that becomes the new tradition!


Korean Chicken Tacos

For Chicken: 

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar

For Asian Slaw:

  • 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • Pinch of salt

Gochujang Mayonnaise

  • 1 Tbs. gochujang or fermented chili paste (found at most specialty grocery stores)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise


  • 6 to 8 corn tortillas
  • Assorted garnishes such as pickled onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and jalapenos



Marinate the chicken by combining the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and sugar in a medium sized bowl.  Pour contents over chicken in a ziplock bag and marinate refrigerated for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.  When ready to serve the tacos, begin by grilling the chicken.  On a stove top grill pan or on an outdoor grill, grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, flipping halfway through. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes then cut into thin slices.

While the chicken is resting, combine the cabbage, carrot, and red bell pepper in a medium sized bowl. In a small bowl mix the honey, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and pinch of salt together. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to combine.

In another small bowl, whisk the gochujang and mayonnaise. Taste for heat, adding additional gochujang if desired.