Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Dak Bokkeum with Spinach (Korean Stewed Chicken with Spinach)
About a year ago, my coworker took me on a trip up to Maryland for what we called "Coworker's Without Cars Day". It was my first trip ever to H-Mart and I was so excited to find all of the Asian ingredients I couldn't get at my local grocery store. One of those ingredients was gochujang, a fermented Korean chile sauce. Of course, being the klutz that I am, I dumped an entire container of gochujang on my foot while we were in the store and made quite the scene. I was cleaning it out of my flip flop for months.
Despite the scene, I never got around using the gochujang until now! I know - a total shame and I had promised a recipe last April that I never got around to making. My gochujang actually technically expired since then, but I looked online and there seems to be some consensus that this stuff never really expires and the date on the back is more a "best by" date (had to look online, all of the description around the date was in Korean). The top layer did turn a little bit brown rather than bright red, but it tasted fine and we didn't get sick so it seemed good to me.
When you go to buy this, there is a huge aisle of H-Mart with different heat intensities of gochujang. It comes in a rectangular red tupperware and on the back right upper corner it will say gochujang in English in itsy bitsy font and it should say in English just how spicy it is. I think mine is the regular spice level and it was very spicy! For those of you without an H-Mart or other Asian market, I hear a rumor that Annie Chung has a version of gochujang that's sold in regular grocery stores, though I've yet to see it. Or, if you live in DC, they actually sell it at Tenley Mini Market, oddly enough. Not exactly what you expect to see in a liquor store but they have it!
With all of this talk about gochujang, you probably want to know if it's worth it, right? Man, oh man is it worth it. This is one of my favorite recipes I've made in a long time and the whole time I was eating it I kept remarking to the Monkey Scientist how much I enjoyed it. If you cook Asian food frequently, you might even have everything you need at home already so you can make this tonight. You make the whole dish in basically one pot (and your rice cooker) which makes for fairly easy clean up. The dish doesn't even need to be babysat while it cooks - you just throw it in and walk away. That's my favorite kind of meal to make! And the taste is out of this world! It's got a hefty spice level (the Monkey Scientist barely added any sriracha on top) and is packed with flavor. It's super filling and healthy (just make sure you trim the fat off of the chicken thighs) as well! It's a total win-win-win dinner - the two of us couldn't praise it enough.
Dak Bokkeum with Spinach
Korean Stewed Chicken with Spinach
from Cooking Light
1/3 cup gochujang (Korean chile sauce)
1/4 cup (1/2-inch) slices green onion bottoms
2 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 1/2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice (sushi rice)
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup (1 1/2-inch) slices green onion tops
1 (5-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1. In a large bowl, combine gochujang, green onion bottoms, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar, and crushed red pepper. Add in strips of chicken thighs, cover, and put in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Place the rice in a mesh strainer. Fill a large bowl with cold water and place the mesh strainer in the water so that the water covers the rice. Stir the rice gently and then remove from water. The water will be milky. Drain water and then repeat 2-3 times until the water comes out nearly clear.
3. Cook the rice with 1 1/2 cups water in a rice cooker. If you don't have a rice cooker, place water and rice in a pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 20 minutes. (I actually added a pinch of sea salt to my rice cooker as well.)
4. While the rice is cooking, add 1/3 cup water to a dutch oven and bring to a boil. Add the chicken mixture and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Uncover and allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the mixture reduces, stirring occasionally.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in green onion tops and spinach and allow the spinach to wilt. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over the rice.