I’ve known people who say that they don’t like to eat. That the only reason they eat is for nourishment, and dining isn’t an exciting experience. I don’t really understand these people, though I respect our differences. I love food. Even as a picky eater, I feel comfortable saying that. I may not like all food, but what I will eat, I thoroughly enjoy. It’s one of the reasons I love to cook: I get to eat the product of my effort.
I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about how I would like Korean food, but Jared and I have been pleasantly surprised with the cuisine. As much as I am able to share with you here- the pictures, the stories, snippets of conversation- one thing that I have been unable to share is the taste of Korea. I’ve decided to start trying out some Korean recipes and sharing them here so that you may have another taste of my life!
So, I checked out a recipe book from our post library. I’m very happy with it because it has good pictures; a requirement I have for cookbooks, especially when foreign foods are featured. The cookbook is The Korean Table: From Barbecue to Bibimbap/100 Easy-to-Prepare Recipes by Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels and is geared to American cooks. For our first Korean meal, I chose to create Dak Chim (Chicken and Vegetables in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce.) I chose this recipe for a number of reasons. I liked the picture, I like chicken, and the ingredients didn’t look like they’d be too crazy to find (I didn’t think you’d want to go searching for dried squid for the first recipe.)
I was so excited to get cooking and share this recipe! I put on my favorite chili pepper apron, set up my cookbook holder, gathered my ingredients, and completely did the recipe backwards. I think I got a little over excited, and Jared was taking pictures, so I felt the need to perform well. My brain said, “COOK!” I just dove in and forgot the order that I needed to follow. Whoops. However, the meal turned out just fine in the end. I think that means it’s a good recipe; you can completely mess it up, and it’s still edible. Win!
The recipe in the book first lists all the vegetable ingredients, then the sauce ingredients. So, I followed that list and first chopped all my vegetables, made the sauces, and then mixed it all together. Shouldn’t have done that (not the book’s fault! I was just overzealous!) The sauces take sometime to prepare (you could actually fix these a few days before to cut down on prep time), so my vegetables were just chopped and sitting there for a good thirty minutes before it was time for them to make an entrance. My recommendation is to make your sauce first, then chop away.
The Dak Chim recipe requires the cook to incorporate two previously prepared sauces. To help prevent other excited souls from repeating my mistake, I have separated these sauces from the actual Dak Chim recipe. Here it is!
Sweet Soy Base Sauce (Makes a little less than 1 cup. The book actually doubles this, but I didn’t want that much left over.)
Combine the water, garlic, ginger and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Be careful not to let the liquid evaporate completely. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, and wine. Turn the heat to high and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Strain the sauce through a sieve into an airtight container. Discard the ginger, garlic, and peppercorns. Store the sauce in the refrigerator. It will keep for 3 months.
Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. This will last for 2 months.
Dak Chim Sauce
It seems a little intimidating, but if you prepare the two sauces ahead of time I think the actual Dak Chim recipe will be fairly quick. My potatoes got a little to mushy, but I think that is because I had them in a pot of water because I peeled them before I made my sauces. Also, my Dak Chim sauce did not glaze as nicely as the sauce in the picture. This could be because I didn’t add the water to the sauce though. HaHa! This post is just a list of why I wouldn’t do well as a food blogger!
Despite the mistakes (alterations?) I made with this recipe, it still turned out pretty well. It was spicy, as most Korean food is, and I recommend you try it just to taste the Korean flavors. It was fun to try something new, and now I feel challenged to improve my Korean cooking! Stay tuned for more recipes & best of luck in your own kitchen!
Source: Chung, Taekyung and Debra Samuels. “Dak Chim.” The Korean Table: From Barbecue to Bibimbap/100 Easy-to-Prepare Recipes. North Clarendon: Tuttle Publishing, 2008. 108. Print.