Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 22, 2022

© Sam Horine

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Sweet soy-braised chicken (Andong Jjimdak)

A classic kimchi recipe plus spicy specialties for an Asian feast

This Andong jjimdak is inspired by the version served at Yet Tuh in Doraville, Georgia. The sauce is the key, which is based around the union of soy sauce, sugar, rice syrup, sake and oyster sauce. A handful of dried red chili peppers gives the sweetness a distinct kick.

Andong is a city located in east-central Korea and some have traced the roots of this dish to a section of Andong Gu Market called Chicken Alley. It is there, they say, the dish was conceived in the 1980s as a way of competing with (or possibly joining) the growing Korean fried chicken craze that still remains today. Seoul food blogger Joe McPherson calls Chicken Alley the “beating heart of the best jjimdak in the world,” while adding not to wear a white shirt while enjoying the messy, transportive dish.

2 lbs. (1 kg) chicken thighs or legs
salt and black pepper
1/3 c. (80 ml) soy sauce, plus more to taste
2 tbsp. (15 ml) mirin
¼ c. (60 ml) sugar, plus more to taste
1 tbsp. (15 ml) Korean rice or corn syrup
1 tbsp. (15 ml) oyster sauce
1 tbsp. (15 ml) sake
1½ tbsp. (22.5 ml) sesame oil
2 tbsp. (30 ml) vegetable oil
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
1 medium carrot, cut into large dice
1 medium onion, cut into large dice
4 scallions, trimmed
8 garlic cloves, minced
½ c. (125 ml) roughly chopped cabbage
8 dried Korean or Anaheim chili peppers
1½ c. (375 ml) chicken stock
1 c. (250 ml) dried sweet potato noodles, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained
sesame seeds, for garnish

Lightly season the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, rice syrup, oyster sauce, sake, sesame oil and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper.

Set a large, high-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven on high heat and add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is lightly smoking, add the chicken, skin side down, and sear for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Flip and sear the other side for another 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Add the potatoes, carrot, onion, scallion, garlic, cabbage and dried chilies along with the soy sauce mixture and 1 cup (250 ml) of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and lower heat to gently simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through. Stir in vermicelli. Add more stock if needed to keep the dish saucy. Remove from heat.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, soy sauce and sugar; you’re looking for a balance of sweet, salty and spicy. Serve with sesame seeds. Serves 4 to 6.

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