Slow Cooker Jjim Dak (or dak jjim), aka Korean braised chicken

Last night I experimented with jjim dak cooked in the slow cooker and I’m so pleased with the results that I had to share the recipe. I started with the recipe from Hyosun at Eating and Living. This is my “go to” site for Korean recipes and I haven’t been disappointed yet. I used her ingredient list, but changed the amounts slightly. You’ll find Hyosun’s recipe here: (http://eatingandliving.blogspot.com/2011/02/jjimdakdakjjim-korean-style-braised.html) Here’s the recipe as I’ve adapted it for the slow cooker.

Ingredients:

3 medium to large boneless chicken breasts (I used frozen ones)
2 small to medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 -10 baby carrots, cut into thirds
1/2 large onion

Added at the end:
3 ounces starch noodles (aka, cellophane noodles or sweet potato noodles; the ones used in jap chae)
2 green onions, diced

The original recipe calls for: 3 -4 mushroom caps (shiitake, white, or baby bella), 3 – 4 dried whole red chili peppers (optional), and 1 – 2 green chili peppers or jalapenos (optional). But I omitted these based on my family’s tastes.

Sauce:
4-5 garlic cloves, minced (I used the equivalent of minced garlic)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. soy sauce (preferably dark)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine (or mirin)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2-1/2 cups water

Added at the end:
2 tablespoons corn syrup (I’ll likely reduce to 1 Tb. next time)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Put the chicken breasts into the slow cooker and cover with potatoes, carrots, and onions. Then add in the first eight ingredients in the sauce list. Cook on high for between four and five hours.

Four hours later, you’ll need to remove the chicken, which should be super tender, shred it, and return it to the slow cooker. Next you need to add the last three sauce ingredients and the noodles. The noodles should soak up most of the water left in the slow cooker. Once the noodles are tender, serve in bowls and garnish with green onions.

It was so yummy! And our exchange student said it tasted like the jjim dak she’s had in Korea, which is the best endorsement I can get. I love Korean recipes in the slow cooker since I rely on it a lot these days. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Gungjung Tteokbokki, New and Improved

So awhile back I posted a recipe for gungjung tteokbokki (궁중떡볶이), which is a favorite in our house. Gungjung tteokbokki is the palace version of this dish, which is now more famous for being spicy than savory. Spicy isn’t tolerated so well in our house yet (our son’s only 5) so this non-spicy works great for us. And the original recipe I’ve used for more than a year was good enough until a month or so ago the PTA at our Korean school made the dish. Suddenly my gungjung tteokbokki paled in comparison.

In fact, their version was soooooo good that I asked the PTA president for the recipe. As expected, I received this description “put a little oil, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil in a pan…”–aren’t Korean cooks famous for winging it (or maybe that’s just great cooks in general). So while my cooking has improved immensely in the last few years, I’m still not really comfortable making a new recipe without knowing the amounts to use. But at least now I knew what ingredients I should be looking for in a recipe.

A few nights ago, I finally had the opportunity to try a version of the PTA’s gungjung tteokbokki. I based my recipe off this video from the Jeonju University food service department, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibB-sf8HlFc, but as usual I tweaked it some. Mainly I tripled the recipe from what is on the video. They use only 20 pieces of tteok (rice cake); I used a 2 pound bag. But I didn’t triple the sugar because they just seemed like too much. My version is listed below.

I cooked this while the kids were at taekwondo and when they came home they were amazed by the smell. Then I think these two kids ended up eating at least a pound of the tteok all by themselves. I was hailed as a great cook, as good as our exchange student’s grandmother (which I doubt, but it was sweet of her to say). I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did.

Gungjung Tteokbokki, 2 Thumbs Up Version
In a large bowl mix:
9 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. garlic, minced
3 tsp. sesame oil
pinch of pepper
pinch of sesame seeds
1 1/2 c. water
Stir together well; add in tteok, stir until well coated. Let sit for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together:
1 1/2 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 Tbs. garlic
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
pinch of both pepper and sesame seeds
1/4 c. water
Stir until mixed together well, then add 1/2 pound to 1 pound of ground beef (what I used) or sirloin strips, thinly sliced. Again, mix up until meat is well coated. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Slice one medium carrot, 1/2 large onion, and two green onions.

Once meat has marinated for at least 1o minutes, add meat and its sauce to a preheated pan. Once it’s begins to boil, add in carrot, onion, tteok, and sauce tteok has been in. Boil, covered, until tteok are soft and liquid is reduced by about half. Add green onions and cook for another minute or so.

Serve.

2 pound bag tteok, cylinder shaped

Dak Doritang (닭도리탕), aka spicy chicken stew

Our family can’t live without Korean food. (OK, we probably could but we’re much happier with a steady diet of Korean.) But having to use the slow cooker several days a week to accommodate our son’s taekwondo schedule has challenged me to find Korean recipes I can cook that way. This is the second one I’ve tried (kalbi jjim was the first). And it’s another keeper.

Dak doritang (닭도리탕) is a spicy chicken stew with potatoes and carrots. As usual, I combined pieces of about three different recipes to come up with this one. Since I’m the only one in my family that really likes spicy, I cut down the amount of hot pepper powder from the original recipes. One recipe I found called for 2-3 Tbs. of hot pepper paste plus an optional 1 Tbs. of hot pepper powder. I knew that would be too much for my family, but feel free to adjust the heat according to your family’s taste.

Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts, cubed
4 medium potatoes, cubed
10 baby carrots, halved
1/2 of one large white onion
3 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. hot pepper powder (adjust according to your family’s tastes)
1/3 c. soy sauce
2 c. water

Place everything in the slow cooker and cook on low for four to five hours. Serve with rice.

Kalbi Jjim (갈비찜)

Since our son has started taekwondo, which falls during the time I usually make dinner, I’ve been trying use my slow cooker more. So last night, I decided to try a recipe I’d found for kalbi jjim in the slow cooker on the Kimchi Mamas site. (You’ll find the original recipe here, which it seems she adapted from the cookbook, Cooking the Korean Way.) But as usual I made changes to the recipe to suit our family and what I had on hand. It was the yummiest new recipe I’ve tried in the slow cooker so far.

Kalbi (갈) is Korean for short rib and jjim (찜) is a steamed dish. This dish can be made with beef short ribs or pork short ribs. I used pork so technically I made dweji galbijjim (돼지갈비찜). Here it is.

Kalbi Jjim

1 package short ribs, about 2.5 pounds (I used boneless, country-style ribs since that’s all I could find.)

1/2 cup water

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup sugar

1/2 large onion, peeled and sliced into lengths

10-12 baby carrots

9-10 small creamer potatoes, peeled

1 T. toasted sesame seeds

(The original recipe on Kimchi Mamas includes 10 fresh mushrooms and a 1/2 cup of peeled chestnuts, both of which I left out.) 

Separate the ribs and remove visible fat. Put the ribs, garlic, and water in the slow cooker, and cook for four hours on low. Then add remaining ingredients, and cook for four more hours or until ribs are fork-tender.

I got started a little late so I cooked the ribs on medium for an hour then turned it to low and cooked for another three before adding the other ingredients and cooking for another four. Since the ribs I used were boneless they might not have needed to cook that long, but they were super tender so I’ll probably do it the same way next time.

The recipe made enough for dinner for our family of three plus lunch for all three of us today. I served it with rice. And you could, of course, add your favorite banchan.

Mandu Guk (만두국)

Today I have to give another shout out to Hyosun over at Eating and Living. After making her mandu recipe a few weeks ago, I decided to try her mandu guk recipe. Oh my! 맛있었어요!!!

I followed her recipe exactly, including using the anchovy broth instead of beef broth. Don’t let anchovy broth scare you. While several years ago I never would have thought I’d have anchovies in my freezer, I do now and I use this broth all the time. It really doesn’t taste like anchovies at all (although it does have that smell while cooking). I usually make a huge pot of broth each time I make it and then freeze it, with about 4 cups per freezer bag. That way I don’t have to make the broth each time I want to make guk.

Here’s the link to the recipe. It was super easy and pretty fast. Enjoy!http://eatingandliving.blogspot.com/2011/01/manduguk-korean-dumpling-soup.html

Ddeok Guk (떡국), aka rice cake soup

No Seolnal celebration is complete without ddeok guk (떡국), aka rice cake soup. The soup has been eaten in Korea for centuries and is believed to bring luck for the coming year to those who eat it and to gain an another year of life.

I’ve made ddeok guk the last couple of years, and have tried a couple of different recipes. The first one called for beef broth, and I really didn’t like how it turned out. Last year I used the recipe from Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee’s Quick and Easy Korean Cooking (my favorite cookbook). The soup was wonderful and I’ll definitely be using the recipe again.

Since I don’t feel comfortable including Lee’s recipe verbatim without permission (but you can’t go wrong buying the book), I’ll provide you with a couple of links to recipes. This soup can be made either with only rice cakes or with mandu added.

One other note. Make only what you’ll eat at the meal during which you’re serving ddeok guk. It’s not a soup that is good left over.

http://eatingandliving.blogspot.com/2010/01/tteokguk-rice-cake-soup-ddeokgukddukguk.html

http://mykoreankitchen.com/2007/01/02/rice-cake-and-instant-dumpling-soup-ddeok-mandu-guk-in-korean/

http://eatyourbap.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/ddukguk/

Mandu (만두)

Last week my son and I made homemade mandu for the first time. When preparing for our son’s Dol we found a brand of frozen mandu that we loved. And for four years, it’s been a staple in our house. But a couple of months ago when we went to buy another bag, the store no longer had it. Since then we’ve tried a couple of different brands but nothing is as good as our original. So I decided to make some and see how it stood up.

The result: Yum! And while it takes a little time to do all of the chopping, it’s not hard at all. And our son had a great time creating very unique mandu shapes that are all his own.

I basically combined three different recipes to come up with the one I’m sharing here. I used the recipe at Eating and Living for the seasonings. You can find that recipes here: http://eatingandliving.blogspot.com/2009/09/mandu-korean-dumplings_20.html. The other ingredients I decided on by looking at a few different recipes and picking what we liked.

Ingredients
1 package won ton wrappers (ours were square; traditionally they are round)
1 zucchini, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated (I used six baby carrots)
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 c. kimchi, chopped
1-2 handfuls of mung beans, blanched and chopped
1/4 package of glass/cellophane noodles, cooked and chopped
1/2 lb. ground beef/pork/turkey, browned (optional)
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ginger, grated or minced
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 egg
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt to season the filling; more for salting vegetables
1/2 tsp. pepper

1. Set chopped zucchini aside in salt water to draw out water for about 15 minutes while you chop the other ingredients.
2. Once you’ve drained the zucchini well, combined all of the ingredients in a large bowl. It’s easiest to use your hands to mix this up.
3. Place a spoonful of filling in a wrapper.
4. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water to help them stick together. Repeat until all wrappers are filled.

We pan fry our mandu, which I’ve just learned from Eating and Living is called “gun mandu.” To cook them this way, heat vegetable oil in a skillet. Cook mandu three-four minutes each side until golden brown.

Our first batch made 48 mandu, with additional filling left over. Mandu can be frozen. Just place the dumplings on a cookie sheet so they aren’t touching, and put in the freezer for an hour or two. Once they are frozen, you can place them in a freezer bag. I’ve read that you must thaw mandu before cooking, but we’ve never done that. We just cook from frozen and cook it a little longer on each side.

Update: Mu Guk (무국)

Well, after months of practice and trying several different recipes, my son says I’ve finally perfected my 무국 (mu guk) recipe. For him that means it tastes close to dish served at our favorite Korean restaurant. While I blogged about mu guk in May (a post in which I linked to three different recipes), I thought I’d share the recipe I now use for this dish.

Korean radish

Ingredients
1/2 or 1 Korean radish (daikon)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
5 c. chicken broth
5 c. water
2-3 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. soup soy sauce (국간장)

1. Slice radish in squares about 1/2-inch thick.
2. In a large pot, saute the radish and minced garlic in sesame oil for about five minutes.
3. Add broth and water, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until radish is tender. (Our family likes the radish really tender so we let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes.)
4. Once radish is tender, add green onion and let cook another minute.
5. Stir in soup soy sauce.

Serve with rice and banchan.

Songpyeon

Just Thanksgiving in the U.S. would be right without turkey or pumpkin pie, Chuseok wouldn’t be the same without 송편 (songpyeon), or half-moon shaped rice cakes.  

This traditional Chuseok foods is filled with different types of sweet or semi-sweet fillings, including sesame seeds and honey or sweet red bean paste. Then the rice cakes are steamed over a layer of pine needles (yes, just like the ones on the pine tree in your front yard).

If you’re feeling adventerous, you can make songpyeon using the recipe found at the Korea Tourism site: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/FO/FO_EN_6_5_2_6.jsp. Or you can usually find songpyeon already made at your local Korean market.

I had songpyeon for the first time this past Sunday at a Chuseok celebration put on by one of our local Korean churches. It was yummy! But I must admit that since my son doesn’t like them, I cheat and make Rice Krispy Treats in the shape of half-moons instead.

But even if songpyeon doesn’t sound like something you’d enjoy, you can still enjoy a Korean feast on Chuseok. Other dishes commonly served at Chuseok are: soup, fish, jap chae, fruit, and rice.

Update: Gungjung Tteokbokki (궁중 떡볶이)

In April I blogged about this dish as part of my focus on the royal cuisine of Korea. But at that point I hadn’t tried to make the dish yet. Now I have and I highly recommend it; it’s become a family favorite. If you remember that post, you know that today tteokbokki is known as a spicy rice cake dish that you can get from street vendors in Korea. But the original version, gungjung tteokbokki, that was served to the royal court was seasoned with soy sauce.

Just FYI, the first time I made this dish I tried the recipe on the link I provided in April. And while it tasted delicious, it seemed very time-consuming. So the next time I tried it, I used a variation of the recipe found in Quick and Easy Korean Cooking by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee. And it was quick and easy! The version she includes is the spicy version, but Lee notes that with a couple of adjustments you can make the non-spicy version. Here’s how I make it:

Ingredients
half bag (3/4 lb.) cylinder rice cakes (the bag I buy is 1.5 lb.)
4 sheets of fish cake, cut into strips
carrots, cut into match sticks
onion, sliced
green onions, chopped
any other vegetable you family likes (such as bean sprouts)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. mool yut (Korean malt syrup) or sugar

If rice cakes are frozen, soak in cold water for at least one hour. Heat canola oil in large skillet then add your vegetables, all except the green onion. Stir fry until veggies are tender. Add fish cake, rice cakes (drained), and all of your seasonings. (Note: The rice cakes will still be very hard when you put in them in pan. That’s OK. They’ll soften during cooking.) Stir fry about five minutes; check tenderness of rice cakes. If they haven’t soften, lower the temperature and cover to steam them a little. Once rice cakes are tender, add green onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds.

While this dish is often consumed as a snack in Korea, we make it as our main dish and eat it with rice and some dishes.