Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jjimdak/dakjjim (Korean-style Braised chicken)

When I was a small child, my parents raised a few chickens in our backyard. I remember feeding baby chicks, watching them grow, and finding it fascinating to see a mother hen lay her eggs. They were great company and provided us with warm fresh eggs every day. Occasionally, some of their lives were cut short by my father who had to do the unpleasant job to feed his family. These events apparently stirred strong emotions in one of my brothers. To this day, he does not eat chicken. As for me, I loved a sweet and savory braised chicken dish my mother used to make. It was a big pot full of flavorful chicken pieces loaded with potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables.

In general, braised chicken dishes are called jjimdak (also called dakjjim). Dak means chicken in Korean, and jjim means steamed, stewed or braised in a sauce. Andong Jjimdak, which originated from the city of Andong, is a spicy version that has become enormously popular since late 1990's. Braised in a sweet and savory braising liquid, the dish gets its spiciness from dried whole red chili peppers and fresh fiery hot green peppers called Cheongyang gochu. Unlike other braised dishes, Andong jjimdak is cooked over high heat. As such, it does not take nearly as much time to cook. My recipe here is Andong-style chicken. I used some dried whole red chili peppers and jalapenos to add heat, but you can reduce or omit the peppers to make a sweet and savory version. This succulent chicken dish promises to be a perfectly satisfying meal for cold winter days! 

4 servings
1 medium size chicken cut up* (about 2.5 pounds of cut pieces)
2 medium potatoes
1 medium carrot
1/2 large onion
3 - 4 mushroom caps (shittake, white, or baby bella)
2 scallions
3 - 4 dried whole red chili peppers (optional)
1 - 2 green chili peppers or jalapenos (optional)
3 ounces starch noodles

Braising liquid:
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce (preferably dark) - use more if using light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (if not available - use a little more soy sauce )
2 tablespoons rice wine (or mirin)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2-1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Soak the starch noodles in warm water while preparing the other ingredients for at least 20 minutes. Drain before using.

Clean the chicken and cut into small pieces (2 to 3-inch sizes). Trim off fat. Cut the vegetables into large chunks. Mix all the sauce ingredients up to the water. The last three ingredients are to be added at the end of the cooking process. Set aside.

In a large pot, place the chicken pieces in a single layer. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Add dried whole red chili peppers if using. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook over high heat for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and onion. Continue to boil over high heat, covered, for an additional 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3. This seems like a lot, but the potato and starch noodles will soak up a lot of the liquid. Stir in the corn syrup, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Gently mix in the green chili peppers (or jalapenos), scallions and starch noodles and continue to cook for an additional 2 - 3 minutes.


  1. Yum!It's been a long time since I had this. My mum rarely makes this. I don't really know how to make this. So it has no gochujang or kochukaru?

  2. Pierre - It's very easy to make. Try it. There is a variety of jjimdak that uses gochujang and/or gochugaru, and I make that sometimes too. However, this particular version (Andong-style) typically doesn't call for gochuhjang or gochugaru. Having said that, you can always modify the recipe to add the ingredients you like. If you decide to use gochujang, reduce the amount of soy sauce since gochujang is already seasoned. Thanks.

  3. The dish sounds wonderful!

    My grandmother lived next door to us when I was growing up, and she raised chickens. I loved it when she let me collect the warm eggs. But I remember watching her kill some chickens once when I was very little, and it stayed with me for a very, very long time... I don't blame your brother for having a hard time with eating chicken...

  4. This chicken dish looks absolutely amazing. I must try some Korean recipes one of these days!

  5. This dish looks fabulous!! I'm going to put it in my line-up of things to make over the next couple months. Thanks for your easy explanation of the steps!

  6. My mom grew-up with a few chickens in her backyard too. She was responsible for feeding them. Although she eats chicken, unlike your brother, to this day, she is very afraid of getting near chickens, turkeys, ostriches, and any type of bird for that matter. She freaks out if one starts walking towards her. As for your braised chicken, it looks great and absolutely perfect for a cold stormy day!

  7. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I love your fabulous chicken dish, and the yummy sauce that goes with it. Bookmarking it, to try!
    As a matter of fact, as I was browsing through your other recipes, love, love, all the others that I've seen so far.
    I'm staying close to your blog, and following you, I invite you to do the same!

  8. The colors in your dish are amazing and would warm the coldest of hearts. I'm new to your blog but will try to visit often. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  9. what a wonderful blend of flavors!! I should make this at school for my girls, I know they would love it and Your images are beautiful!

  10. Delicious!! I can relate to growing up feeding, chasing and even playing with chickens LOL I did it up to the age of 10 :D Nothing beats fresh, fresh eggs from a hen you personally know ;)

  11. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful recipes. This particular recipe looks so comforting. I will definitely put it on my list for this week.

  12. This chicken stew looks so appetizing and delicious! We are having another extremely cold spell here. I am sure this dish will warm up both the tummy and soul.

  13. Yum! This looks so delicious!! Thanks for sharing. I would love to make this. :)

  14. Korean food is so alien to me...know nothing about it except kimchi and my korean miso :)
    Everything looks so colorful, vibrant and oozing with life!

  15. I love Korean chicken dishes. And yours looks fabulous. How cool you had chickens growing up. I bet it was extremely tasty making fresh chicken dishes.

  16. Just finished making this and it's awesome! I tried other recipes but this one is perfect. Thank you for sharing.

    1. That's great! Thanks for letting me know. It means a lot to me.

  17. Love your blog! Do you think it would turn out okay if this was done in a crock pot? Tks!

  18. It will be great in a crock pot. You would not need the water in the recipe for slow cooking. Let me know how it turns out. Thank you! Happy cooking!

  19. Thank you for having this available on the internet! Your instructions are straight forward and very easy to follow. Absolutely love making this. Makes for a very enjoyable dinner!

    1. You're welcome, Mag! I'm thrilled to hear you love making this. Thanks for letting me know. I make this quite often as well. A family favorite!