Gochugaru Girl does not believe in reinventing, deconstructing or otherwise meddling with classic dishes. She believes that classic dishes are classic because everyone loves them just as they are.
The dilemma is this: how do you serve a whole cut up chicken to three generations, aged 14 to 75, some of whom like chicken with bones and some of whom think bones are just for wild animals to chew on?
There are 10 around the table for dinner tonight. Since South Korea is playing today in the World Cup, I thought I would make a Korean dish for everyone.
Looking through our photos taken on holiday, I came across some taken at the restaurant in Hahoe Village, where we had Andong Jjimdak for lunch*.
This is a chicken dish; dak (닭) is chicken and jjim(찜) is in cooking terms ‘to steam’ or ‘to braise’. The lady chef/ proprietor prepared this dish with skill and speed. It was perfectly delicious and restorative.
Whilst I was sure I wanted to stay faithful to the dish we ate, I was unsure about chopping a whole chicken into bite-sized pieces. We would need two large chickens and the knife work would be challenging.
My idea was to use poussins instead. These are young chickens, each around 500 g in weight. The poussin would be deskinned, and each leg and breast cut into two, thus yielding eight pieces per poussin. Hopefully there would be a good enough meat/ bone ratio to satisfy everyone. The wings and backbone would be roasted lightly and made into a stock to add to the dish.
As it turned out, this was a very good dish to cook tonight. Three of our guests were stuck in heavy traffic and another two were stuck in heavy shopping. One had a train to catch and one is sleeping off the effects of jetlag. The Jjimdak was served in three sittings but kept well in the pan.
This is a home-style dish, which I served with steamed rice (I love rice). I relied on my distant memories and the generosity of other online bloggers who provided some idea of a basic recipe with which I could work. The interpretation is entirely my own and the ingredients are based on what is available here in London. I used two 30 cm pans for the quantity here.
The recipe, as given, feeds up to 12 adults, but can be adapted easily to feed fewer people.
For the Jjimdak:
8 poussins, 500 g each
½ cup soya sauce
½ cup oyster sauce
½ cup dark corn syrup
200 g dangmyeon (당면) – Korean cellophane noodles made from sweet potato starch
8 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 x 5 cm pieces of ginger
8 cloves of garlic
8 medium-sized potatoes
4 medium-sized white onions
4 medium-sized carrots
240 g fresh shitake mushrooms
4 green chillies
4 red chillies
4 stalks Chinese chives
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Preparation for the chicken and stock:
De-skin the poussins and remove the legs. Cut each leg into two pieces at the joint.
Remove the entire breast, leaving in the bone, and cut each breast into four pieces.
Place the carcass (backbones and wings) in a roasting pan and roast in the oven at 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas 4 for 30 minutes.
When the carcasses are ready, place them in a pot with 8 cups of water, cover with a lid and simmer for up to an hour. Sieve the stock and throw away the bones.
In a bowl, mix together the soya sauce, oyster sauce and corn syrup and set aside.
Soak the noodles in warm water to soften it. Drain when ready.
Preparation for the vegetables:
Scrape the skin off the ginger and slice diagonally into very thin pieces.
Peel and slice the garlic, then mince roughly.
Peel and quarter the potatoes. Cut each quarter into three pieces.
Peel and quarter the onions. Cut each quarter into three pieces.
Peel the carrots. Slice each carrot diagonally into 3 mm pieces.
Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and cut the bigger ones into two.
Halve the chillies lengthways and remove the seeds.
Cut the Chinese chives into 5 mm long pieces.
How to Make:
Heat up the pan and add the sunflower oil.
Add the chicken and fry until slightly browned, then add the ginger and garlic, giving everything a good stir.
Add the sauce and coat the chicken pieces well.
Add the potatoes and 6 cups of stock. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes over a high heat.
Remove the lid and add the onions and carrots. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
Add the noodles, mushrooms and chillies, and cook for another 8 – 10 minutes. The dish is ready when the liquid has reduced and the noodles look translucent.
Switch off the heat and add a few twists of ground black pepper and the sesame oil, stirring once or twice.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the chicken before serving.
* The place to eat Andong Jjimdak is in the market in Andong town itself. Within the market there is a whole row of restaurants serving this dish. You would be spoilt for choice.