Monday, March 21, 2011

Korean Spicy Braised Chicken (Dahk BokkeumTang 닭볶음탕) : I have a temper

 One of my least attractive qualities is my ferocious temper.   I have a very very slow fuse, so mostly my temper doesn't explode, but when it does, I can be one of the scariest people alive.  (Yes I know - people are again, shaking their head in disbelief.)   Husband will attest to this, because there was once a time, early in our marriage, where he did something that made me so mad that I did not talk to him for 37 days.  You read that right.  37 whole days I did not speak to him.   I spent my days ignoring his phone calls and the evenings ignoring his presence.  I would walk around him and if he spoke to me I would ignore him.  I was quite proud of this demonstration of my extreme temper and my ability to hold a grudge until one of my friends ever-so-gently pointed out the error of my ways.  She quoted to me from Ephesisans 4:26, "And don't sin by letting anger control you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry..." and I was instantly deflated.  Why was I so proud and excited by something that was clearly displeasing to God?  From that day forward, I resolved never to let the sun go down on my anger.

Recently Husband and I got into a heated argument over something via telephone and once again the ferocious temper reared its ugly head.  And although it was close to my bedtime, I forced myself to call him before I went to bed and say, "Don't you have anything to say to me?"  His response was, "Do you have something to say to me?"  Although I usually make it a point to NOT be the first one to say sorry, I tucked my pride under my arm, and pushed my temper off my spirit and said, "I'm sorry."  Just saying those words dramatically changed my emotions and I could feel all of the anger and distress melting off of me.  I knew that not letting the sun go down on my anger was something so wise and from God.

I'd like to think that my temper has improved as I have gotten older.  I hope it has.  I hope that God comtinues to mold me closer to His image and that the crazy temper quickly becomes nothing more than a tiny spark and not the raging fire it can be.

One way I've discovered I can control my temper is swallowing it.  Literally.  By eating super spicy foods I somehow calm the fire that rages in my spirit.  This dish does that for me.  Eating all the pure heat and spiciness makes me relax and think not of my anger, but how satisfied I am by the spiciness within my belly and not my spirit.

This does have somewhat a long list of ingredients, but the preparation is essentially marinating the chicken, then cooking it with some vegetables.  Don't be daunted by the long list and instead break up the work into steps.  Marinate the chicken the night before and cook it the day of.  It is also a great dish reheated, if you want to make it the day before and serve it the next day.  I do favor bone-in, dark meat chicken for braising as it holds up to the extended cooking time and doesn't fall apart.

Korean Spicy Braised Chicken (Dahk BokkeumTang 닭볶음탕)
3 to 4 lbs bone-in, skin OFF chicken. (I used chicken thighs, but drumsticks would work well or even whole legs.)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Korean red pepper chili paste (gochujahng 고추장)
2 tablespoons Korean red chili powder (gochugahloo 고추가루) ** If you want it less spicy, reduce this to 1 tablespoon or less
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup pureed onion

3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, cut into large 1 inch pieces
3 to 4 red rose potatoes, cut into 2 inch chunks (I quartered the potaotes)

1/2 to 1 cup water (as needed)
3 scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
Sesame seeds for garnish

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, red pepper chili pepper paste, red chili powder, soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and pureed onion. Mix well. Add chicken and mix until all chicken pieces are coated. Add carrots and onions and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until needed, at least 2 hours, but up to overnight.

Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add marinated chicken and vegetables and stir, cooking until the marinade is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Top with potatoes and pour 1/2 a cup of water over chicken and cover, reducing heat. Check chicken after 15 minutes to make sure there is enough water, and add 1/4 cup of necessary. You do NOT want to add too much water because the vegetables and the chicken all release juices and a too watery base is not ideal. Cook for 45 minutes total, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure there is enough water and just adding a little bit at a time.

Once chicken is fully cooked and potatoes are tender, add scallion pieces and toss. Sprinkle with sesame seeds as a garnish. Serve hot with fresh rice.

Printable recipe

Just spicy enough.


Marc said...

This looks amazing. I cannot wait to try it! I think I'll probably use boneless thighs for some convenience, I know it will affect the richness of the sauce a bit. Do you think I should just cut down the time a bit? I can always use a meat thermometer..

Joanne Choi said...

Hi Marc. If you use boneless skinless thighs you are not only going to lose some flavor, but will also risk having the chicken fall apart too quickly while waiting for the vegetables to cook. Try and use as little as possible and you'll have to reduce the cooking time by at least 10 minutes or more, so that you have cooked chicken, but not chicken mush. :)

julie {chefjulieyoon} said...

I've been commenting on nearly every post you write lately :) But seriously, this story is awesome. 37 days of silence? I can't believe it. But i love your honesty about humbling yourself and controlling your temper so that you could be pleasing before God. Awesome... and awesome looking chicken!


wildtomato said...

I totally know what I'm making for dinner this week. I've made your grilled spicy chicken recipe before (delicious!), and this looks like a good solution for these cold, rainy nights where I refuse to go outside to grill yet still want a spicy chicken fix. Thanks for taking the time to teach us about Korean food.

Joy said...

That looks wonderful.

Potholes said...

gonna make it tomorrow nite.. yummmm-O
thanks again for sharing your life~~~ i miss u on FB... day 4 and counting....

Amy K. said...

Thank you for this post! This past year has been challenging for me and my husband with his new job and mine as a stay-at-home-mom. Anger and resentment has been rearing their ugly heads more than usual here. Thanks again for sharing your story!

Roslyn Lee said...

Hi Joanne,

Do you have a non-spicy version of this? It looks great, but it may be too spicy for the lil man. Thanks!

Rena said...

I made this the other night and it was DELICIOUS!!!! :D Thanks~

creme_brulee said...

can i omit the chili paste & powder and sake? cookin' for a young toddler! what'd would be a substitute for sake. notice you include it in numerous recipes that I want to try for a toddler.

Joanne Choi said...

Creme Brulee - try this one instead...which is a soy braised chicken vs a chili paste one.

angies said...

made this just now and it is AWESOME and very easy! LOVE it! thanks!


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