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Blog Back From the Dead Menu

2 November 2007

Yangnyom tak
Korean “Chicken in Sauce”, brown rice

Boring Vegetable Stir-fry
carrot, broccoli, courgette, scallion, mushroom

Yangnyom tak
I first had this dish while living off-campus in my final year of college. My excellent-cook-fabulous-all-around-person-who-I’ve-lost-touch-with-where
-the-heck-is-she housemate MJ cooked it several times, but never often enough for us. I’ve got many memories from that year; this chicken is one of the few repeatable in mixed company.

The recipe can be found in one of my favorite cookbooks (also courtesy of MJ): A Korean Mother’s Cooking Notes, which is filled with lots of really simple, really tasty recipes, with ingredient lists mindful of the limitations of a non-Korean kitchen/supermarket. It is a little spicy, a little vinegary, a little sweet, and very easy. Note that the recipe calls for, and is MUCH better with, chicken parts (legs, thighs, wings). I have made it with chicken breast, but I wouldn’t recommend it — breast doesn’t survive the longer cooking needed to thicken and stick-y up the sauce. Eat with your hands! That’s what soap is for!

A few additional notes: the original recipe calls for 1 kg/2 lbs of chicken for this much sauce. I like it a little saucier, so I’ve cut the chicken back. Adjust as necessary. Also, kochujang is a Korean hot pepper paste that is sweet, spicy, and incredibly delicious. It’s worth the effort to seek it out. (You may remember that I used it recently)

For 3 or 4 servings:

  • 250g or 1/2 lb of chicken parts (about 5 small whole legs), skin them if you like
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 t hot sauce or chili paste
  • 1 T kochujang OR add an extra 1 t hot sauce and 1 T sugar
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 2 T vinegar (I use balsamic)
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 t chopped garlic (optional)
  • 1 t chopped giner (optional)

If you have time, marinate chicken in soy, ginger and garlic for 1 hour. Mix all other ingredients together.

Brown chicken pieces on all sides in a heavy pan over high heat. The pan should just be big enough to hold all of the pieces in one layer. If you did not skin the chicken, drain off the fat. If you skinned the chicken, this step will probably not be necessary. Pour the sauce over the chicken, bring to a boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened and sticky. You will need to keep an eye on the pan and stir it occasionally. For small legs and thighs, cooking should take no more than 20 minutes. For a stickier sauce, raise the heat to medium high for the last few minutes of cooking.

Note: In case there’s anyone reading this blog who DOESN’T know where I’ve been, I’m back now with a bunch of new ideas and at least two guest authors in the wings (R? A? I know you’re out there! I can hear you breathing!)

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