As I try desperately to update the blog with past and present recipes, sometimes I have a hard time remembering the exact ingredients and measurements for each recipe. But in this case with Andong Jjimdak, I didn’t have any problem remembering because the dish came out, not be vain or anything, perfectly. In addition, it was approved by a few special adults who really know their Korean food and, like most food connoisseurs, will tell me exactly what they think of the dish. Needless to say, it was a nice moment to get positive feedback and share food with people I care for.
A little more Andong Jjimdak, the name itself breaks down into two parts (actually three), with dak meaning chicken and jjim meaning slow-braised or steamed in a sauce. Andong is the city where it originated and has only gotten more famous over time. Known for its sweet, spicy, and savory combination, this is a crowd-pleaser among students and for those loving spicy chicken and chunks of vegetables. The recipe usually calls for dried red chili peppers for the added heat, but I used fresh regular chili peppers and extra gochugaru (red pepper flakes) instead. If you can’t handle all the spiciness, you can simply omit the peppers and it should still come out delicious.
Just a sidenote, this dish has special meaning (only by default) in that Andong represents one of several areas of the surname Kim lineage (Yes, I am a Kim). In Korea, names and surnames are especially important in society, so when I arrived in Seoul many, many years ago, one of the first things people would ask me was not only my surname but also my clan name (in Korean called bon-gwan 본관). I usually don’t care for those trivial things, but I knew it would be asked again so I asked the parents (ask for blood type too!). Lo and behold, I learned that I was a descendant of the Andong Kim clan (in Korean 안동김씨), a clan noted for its nobility (양반) and upper-class status (lucky me!). Not sure why, but my Korean friends and acquaintances are always surprised to hear about my clan status. Lol. And for all you other Kims out there, here are some more interesting facts. Did you know your name means gold (금) in Chinese characters (한자)? Or another one, did you know that a whopping 20% of Koreans have the surname Kim? I had no idea I’d be learning so much other stuff, but then again, it’s not surprising given that Korean food is history and we are enjoying the fruits of it. Good stuff!
- 2 lbs. chicken (thighs, breasts, drumsticks are ideal but any cut will work)
- 6 small goguma (sweet potatoes; or potatoes), diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 mushrooms, quartered (shiitake or black)
- 5 jujubes or red dates
- 1 handful dangmyun (glass noodles)
- 4 hot chili peppers, diced (fresh or dried)
- 1 tbsp gochugaru (red pepper flakes)
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp mulyeot (corn syrup)
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 cups water (add more if necessary)
- Soak the glass noodles in water for at least 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- If using whole chicken, cut into appropriate pieces, cut off fatty pieces (but not the skin!) and
- rinse under cold water.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, boil the chicken pieces in water to remove fat and to tenderize the chicken, about 20 minutes. If you have onion halves, garlic cloves, and green onion available, include them into the mix. Discard water.
- Cut the vegetables into large chunks, approx. 1-inch. Combine all the sauce ingredients together (last 10 items on the list) in a mixing bowl.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken. Bring it to a boil over high heat, cook with the lid partially closed for 15 minutes.
- Next, add sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, jujubes, and mushrooms. Continue to boil over medium heat, about 10 minute. Sample the sauce and adjust accordingly.
- Lastly, add the glass noodles and mix thoroughly with other ingredients. Cook on medium heat until the sauce has slightly thickened and noodles are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Plate accordingly and garnish with sesame seeds, or in my case, thinly sliced perilla leaves.