Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Soy Braised Ginger Chicken 닭찜: Not typical summer fare

Yes I know, a braised dish in the summer seems counter intuitive. It requires time on the stove, heat, and it is served hot. So why, a braised dish? Because in actuality, a braised dish works in the summer because you don't have to sit over a hot stove because the stove does the cooking for you and you don't have to stick around watching it or stirring it. You serve this with rice and a crisp salad, you've hit a home run with your family.

My preference for chicken in this dish is actually thigh and drumstick and NOT breast. I also like it to be bone in, skin OFF, which basically means you're going to have to skin it yourself, because not many places offer bone in skin off. Skinning chicken is not one of the more fun jobs of cooking, but it isn't too difficult if you just get into it. What I mean by that is that you cannot try and skin chicken parts with two fingers - you need your entire hand. My solution to the squeamishness about handling chicken is to wear some disposable gloves and just grab the chicken and rip skin off in swift, quick movement, using my entire hand. Admittedly I do have to use the knife a bit on the drumsticks but the thighs are actually really easy to eliminate skin. So if you are looking for the EASIEST to skin, use bone-in thighs.

Why bone? Bones help cook the meat, and they also add an additional richness of flavor to the braising liquid. You are welcome to make this with boneless skinless chicken thighs and it will still taste good, but the bone adds a little bit of something special...it also helps keep the chicken from completely falling apart.

My LEAST favorite part of the chicken for this is the breast - it gets dry, stringy and tough and since there isn't any skin - it's just not that delicious. There are better dishes for cooking straight breast meat but this isn't one of them. (I will be posting a soy reduction glazed chicken dish which is GREAT with breast meat in the near future.) If you HAVE to use white meat, I'm not responsible.
Soy Braised Ginger Chicken (닭찜)

3 lbs of bone in, skin off chicken

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tablespoons garlic
2 inches of ginger root, peeled, and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (this will be used to flavor the braising liquid so chopping it to death is not necessary)
1 tablespoon crushed sesame seed
Pepper to taste

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 carrot, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 onion cut into 2 inch chunks

In a large pot, add soy sauce, water, sugar, sake, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and sesame seed. Over low heat, slowly stir the braising liquid until all the sugar has melted and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Once the braising liquid is simmering, add all the chicken pieces all at once. Mix all the pieces with the braising liquid and then COVER and reduce the heat to medium low. You want to do is maintain a steady low simmer. (a few bubbles rising to the surface but not a raging inferno of bubbles) Cook at a simmer for 30 minutes.

Check the pot after 30 minutes. Stir the chicken. Add potatoes, carrots and onions, and stir carefully making sure the vegetables are well submerged into the braising liquid. Cover. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Serve with rice and don't be shy about taking the braising liquid and pouring it over your rice.

Printable recipe

Delicious with plain rice...


kim said...

Another winner here - this one reminds me a lot of the dishes Mom makes, only with a kicked-up flavor (she didn't use sake or all the fresh ginger). Worked great for dinner guests tonight!

Joanne Choi said...

Kim! You are rocking it on my blog! Thank you! Did hubby and kids enjoy too?

Lawrence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lawrence said...

Made this for dinner last night and as expected, LL went nuts for it! He couldn't wait to have leftovers again tonight. He ate two huge bowls. Another good one, Joanne

Tina said...

I had to go through your blog to find out which chicken dish it was that you made for us. This is it, right? It was such a treat! Eva loved it too! Thanks again.

Jemi said...

I am making this dish right now, and the braising sauce tastes very good! I used to make my own version of this dish, but it never quite tasted right. That's why I decided to try your recipe and WOW!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe as I now think I know how to make a HOME RUN Soy Braised Chicken dish rather than some mediocre imitation of what I thought it should be. I didn't have any Sake on hand so I used Mirin which made it a little too sweet; I added water to dilute and it tastes just fine.

Hagana said...

Thanks so much for this recipe! My mom used to make this for me when I was little, but you know how hard it is to get an actual "recipe" from a Korean mother! It was great to see this here, and now it's become my go-to sauce for a variety of stir fries as well!

elizabeth said...

can i use drumsticks instead?

Joanne Choi said...

Drumsticks work! Just rip the skin off (the skin makes the sauce unnecessarily oily.)


Thanks for the idea of & reason for ripping the skin off. do you have a suggestion for non-alcoholic subsitute for sake? i'm sure most of it gets burned off in the cooking process but in other dishes where no cooking is involved, but mixing (i.e sesame noodles), what would you substitute? I'm also cooking for a young toddler!

Joanne Choi said...

you can leave out sake - but it definitely gets burned off in the long cooking process - you don't have to worry about alcohol affecting your toddler.

Also - my sesame noodles don't use sake...it does use rice vinegar however...are you confusing the two?

Sarah said...

This was delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I'll look forward to my packed lunches this week :)

jin said...

"if you have to use white meat, I'm not responsible." you crack me up. i'm officially subscribing to your blog. thank you for all the honest entries and amazing recipes!


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