A predominantly successful attempt, I must say! Let me preface by saying that I recently moved out of LA and I have eaten Kogi BBQ tacos a myriad of times. If there is a single reason to live in LA, Kogi tacos might be it. They are so delicious and I want one right meow. They are easily on my list of the best things I have ever eaten.
Let me secondface by saying that I did some light Internet research on what kind of Kogi taco recipes were floating around out there and the vast majority of them were from people who had never had them. They were going off the Kogi blog description, pictures and recipes from other people who had also never had them. That was a bummer because I really wanted someone to say “I’ve had these tacos many times and this recipe is so close to the real thing I could cry!”
While I have eaten the real thing, I still can’t cry about my recipe. BUT the tacos I made definitely had the essence of Kogi and are definitely delicious. They are creeping up on Kogi, tapping it on the shoulder and saying hey…I’m on to you.
SO YEAH, I cobbled together a recipe based on the ones I found and a few other searches and whaddyaknow they weren’t too far off after all. The flavor ideas were there and they were quite good, but they were not as good as the real thing. However, I actually think that’s a good thing. Kogi tacos are special and if I could make them at home, they wouldn’t be special. BRB driving to LA.
For the marinade, I used Michael Symon’s Spicy Soy-and-Ginger Marinated Chicken, with a few changes. Even though the short rib taco is the real crème de la crème, I don’t have a bbq and wanted to simplify things for myself a bit, so I went with chicken. For the slaw vinaigrette, I actually based it on a Chinese Chicken Salad dressing recipe from the blog Once Upon A Chef. For the taco sauce, I used the Kogi bbq sauce recipe from Steamy Kitchen. While this is clearly not the same as the actual sesame-chili salsa roja mentioned on the Kogi Blog, it was created by the Kogi chef Roy Choi himself. FINALLY, and yeesh this recipe has a lot of elements, for the green onion cilantro relish, I used the same essential recipe from Tasty Eats at Home, but used green onions instead of red. Got it? Good.
OH one more thing. Limes! They froze! So none of the grocery stores I went to the day I made this had any limes. NOT ONE. Not one lime. 😦 I had to use that little plastic bottle thingy of lime juice. It tasted fine, but I’m 98.2% positive fresh lime and some lime zest would have been better.
KOGI TRUCK STYLE KOREAN BBQ CHICKEN TACOS
- 1/4 cup Sriracha
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper – a dash of each
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs*
- 1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup napa cabbage, chopped
- 1.5 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/8 cup rice vinegar
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp fresh black pepper
- 1/4 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp gochujang
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sriracha, or to taste
Green Onion Cilantro Relish
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 tbsp lime juice, or to taste
- 8 corn tortillas
1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Add chicken and let marinate for 1 hour. Or, for deeper flavor, let it marinate overnight.
2. Once marinated, remove the chicken and cook in a large non-stick skillet until cooked through and you’ve got some nice caramelization on the outside. But seriously – if you have a bbq, use that instead!! If pan frying, make sure to use a non-stick pan because the sugar in the marinade can burn and stick.
2. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest a bit. Scrub the crap out of your pan if you didn’t use a non-stick like me because the sugar has burned and is seemingly destined to remain there for years to come. Once cooled, chop the chicken into bite size pieces.
4. Whisk together all of the taco sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
5. Combine chopped green onion and rice wine vinegar in a bowl. Allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes. Add the remaining relish ingredients and stir to mix.
6. While the relish is sitting, whisk together the slaw dressing ingredients (everything except the lettuce and cabbage). Put the chopped romaine lettuce and napa cabbage in a large bowl and drizzle in the dressing a little bit at a time, tossing in between until you get the desired amount of dressing you like.
7. Add the chicken back into the frying pan, toss to combine and cook just enough for the chicken to deepen in color and crisp up a bit. This step is essential for maximum flavor.
8. Warm up your tortillas (I do mine one a couple at a time in a pan on medium-low heat) then assemble yo’ tacos! I did chicken first, then slaw, sauce and relish. Relish? Try DE-lish! …..anyone? No?
*The first time I made this, I used chicken breast tenders. It tasted good, but it was pretty dry so I definitely recommend chicken thighs for best results.
UPDATE: I am making this again today and decided to peruse through even more search results for Kogi taco recipes, just to see if there’s any other useful info out there. Turns out LA Magazine did an article on the Kogi chef Roy Choi and he shared his real and actual recipe for Kogi Korean short ribs. Here’s the link – http://www.lamag.com/recipes/grilling-guru-recipe-roy-chois-kalbi/
Want to see another recipe? Check out my Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with White Wine and Herbs Sauce and Rosemary Potatoes