Dakjjim (Korean Braised Chicken)

Crazy weather took a break and cooled down a bit which I really appreciate as I got the chance to spend more time in the kitchen and cater to a special request for Dakjjim- obviously a Korean dish which is braised chicken with vegetables.  I have not cooked nor heard of this dish so I had to visit my go-to site for Korean cuisine http://www.maangchi.com/.  I watched the video which is very easy to follow and the ingredients are always available in the market.  In fact, I have almost everything in our pantry except for the chicken.  I love that the recipe calls for lots of ginger and fresh vegetables and my favorite glass noodles aka potato starch noodles.  Here's how I made it:

DAKJJIM (Korean Braised Chicken)

Prepare chicken and noodles:
*Trim the excess fat from 3 pounds of chicken thighs (or breasts or wings) and cut
 into bite-sized pieces (1 inch x 2 ½ inches).
*Rinse the chicken in cold water and soak it for a few minutes. Drain and set aside.
*Soak 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of starch noodles in cold water. 
Make sauce:
       Combine ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup oyster sauce, ¼ cup rice syrup (or corn syrup), and 1 tbsp dark brown sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
       Note:  I omitted the rice syrup and dark brown sugar and it came out with just a hint of sweetness which comes from the oyster sauce.  I think corn syrup will make it too sweet for my taste

Prepare the vegetables
1.   Cut 3 peeled medium sized potatoes into 1½ inch thick chunks.
2.   Slice 1 medium sized carrot into slices 1/8 inch thick.
3.   Slice 1 medium sized onion.
4.   Chop up 1 red chili pepper and 2 green chili peppers.
5.   Slice 1 cup’s worth of white mushrooms into bite-sized chunks.
6.   Cut 5-7 green onion stalks into pieces 2 inch long.
7.   Shred the white parts of the green onions thinly lengthwise, and soak in cold water for 10 minutes before draining. 
Let’s cook!
1.   Heat up a wok or a shallow skillet. Add 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil.
2.   Cut 2-3 dried red peppers into pieces ½ inch long. Add them to the heated oil and stir-fry for 10-15 seconds before taking them out.
3.   Add the chicken.
*tip: to prevent yourself from getting burned from flying oil, first place the chicken on the edge of the pot and then push it in with a wooden spoon.
4.   Stir the chicken with a wooden spoon a few times. Let it cook with the lid open for about 3-5 minutes.
5.   Turn the chicken over, give it a quick stir, and let it cook with the lid open for another 3-5 minutes.
6.   Add minced garlic and ginger and stir it for a minute.
7.   Add the potato chunks, the sauce, and 2½-3 cups of water. Cook for 10 minutes over high heat with the lid closed.
8.   Open the lid and add carrot and onion and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Keep the lid open.
Add soaked and drained starch noodles, sliced red pepper, green chili peppers, white mushrooms, and cucumber. Keep stirring for 7-10 minutes over high heat until the braising liquid has thickened and the noodles look translucent.
9.   Turn off the heat and add 2 tsp ground black pepper and 1 tbsp sesame oil. Mix it together

10.   Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with chopped green onions and sprinkle some sesame seeds over top before serving.
This is my first attempt where I used young chicken and I didn’t have sesame seeds but it was well compensated by the toasted sesame oil I added upon serving.
And this is the more recent one using organic chicken which yielded a more flavorful result although the first was not lacking in taste and was well received.  I added more ginger and a little more broth because the noodles absorb the liquid quickly especially if not eaten right away.  I would advise to reserve some broth when the stew becomes too thick.
I’m really pleased with the results on both and I’m glad I made it and discovered another tasty Korean dish.  The success depends on fresh ingredients and the right amount of spices.  


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