Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Dakdoritang - tried and tested

It is supposed to look like this:
Instead mine looks like this:
(steaming hot, aye?)

As some of you may know, I am a huge fan of Korean food. When I came across this incredibly-easy-to-follow recipe, thanks to a blogger called paintroller, I decided to make dakdoritang for my tea last night.

The only differences are:-

I replaced potatoes with sweet potatoes since I was never keen on white potatoes

I also added shiitake mushroom as I am a mushroom addict

There were no spring onions in the house so I had to make do without it.

I served it with rice and beansprout salad (someone please remind me of the Korean name) and spinach (another type of banchan which name has escaped me)

The end result, taste-wise, was quite yummy. Look-wise, it’s not as pretty as it should have looked. However, since I am a sole diner, I wasn’t too bothered about the aesthetic aspect of the dish.

So, without much further ado, please find the much praised recipe below. You can find the proper post (with step by step photo instructions) on paintroller blog.

Note to self: Chinese soy sauce (even the light soy sauce) is naturally more salty than the Korean soy sauce. Go easy on it.

Ingredients (for 4)

2 chickens
soy sauce
a lot of garlic
fresh ginger
black pepper
gochujang (red pepper paste)

1. Get two chickens at the market. Tell the chicken man that you're making dakdoritang and he'll cut it up approriately. Outside
Korea I recommend buying chicken thighs, bone in and skin on, because that's where the flavor is.

2. Put the chicken in a pot full of water and bring it almost to a boil. Some schmaltz will appear on the top of the water.

3. Discard the water.

4. Your chicken should now look like this.

5. Add some soy sauce.

6. More soy sauce.

7. Add even more soy sauce. I reckon she poured in about 1/2 of a cup of soy sauce. At this point it's the only liquid in the pot so the chicken soaks it up.

8. Add red pepper powder. You'll notice that in the picture my mother-in-law is in fact adding red pepper paste. That is because she was not happy with the quality of the two kinds of red pepper paste currently in the house. I suggest that if you are making this outside
Korea this wil cut down on expenses, in that you too can use red pepper paste twice instead of buying paste and powder. A heaping wooden spoonful will do. Incidentally, my mother-in-law has thrown her weight behind Haechandle brand gochujang (red pepper paste).

9. Add water. My mother-in-law said she added extra water because I like the sauce, but you can leave it up to taste, adding between 1/2 cup and a cup.

10. Add potatoes, cut roughly as for stew.

11. Add black pepper to taste.

11. Add sugar. I would guess about four tablespoons.

12. This much.

13. Stir and taste.

14. This is where you would normally add the red pepper paste. Again, Haechandle, and about a heaping wooden spoonful.

15. Chop and smash about 8 cloves of garlic.

16. Chop and smash one chunk of fresh peeled ginger.
Ginger is the Korean's go-to odor eliminator, and I don't know if dakdoritang usually contains it, but, in an interesting side note, my mother-in-law hates chicken. She never ever eats it, since she was a child and she witnessed a particularly gruesome chicken beheading.

17. Add the garlic and ginger. By now the stew should look like this.

18. Add onions, cut large like the potatoes.

19. Add green onions, again cut roughly into one inch pieces.

20. I reminded my mother-in-law at the last minute that I like carrots, so she added half a carrot to appease me.

20. Cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes and it's good to go."