Dakjjim, also sometimes Dak Chim, is a spicy chicken and vegetable dish from Korea. As with many traditional dishes there are many regional and family recipe variations. My recipe was influenced by recipes from the Institute of Traditional Korean Food and the Korean Table Cookbook, since I don’t have a Korean eomeoni (mother) to pass along a family recipe. In many ways this is a great recipe for using up vegetables that you have on hand, which is why my recipe still keeps changing and evolving. I also don’t always measure each ingredient, but go by if it looks right. Most Korean recipes would use dark meat from a chicken such as thighs and legs, or even a whole chicken, as dark meat is more flavorful. I found a great deal on chicken breasts so that’s what I used.
I used 2 large chicken breasts. First rinse in cold water and then pat dry with a paper towel or clean cloth. Trim or cut off any icky bits like excess fat or cartilage. If you are using chicken legs or thighs buy them already deboned, or cut the meat off the bone yourself.
The vegetables used to go with the chicken can vary, but I think it is nice to have a variety of colors, tastes, and textures. You can see I chose white and red onion, carrots, a small piece of daikon radish, a couple of potatoes, a small zucchini, some button mushrooms and a spring onion for garnish. Peel the root vegetables and cut into small chunks.
Place the potatoes to one side as they will take the longest to cook, then the carrots and daikon radish which don’t need quite so long to cook. Wash/wipe the mushrooms, and then peel and scrape the seeds out of the zucchini. Cut mushrooms in half and zucchini in slices, place to one side. Peel and roughly chop the onion. I used a total of half an onion, but I like onions.
Place your cut up chicken chunks into a lightly oiled frying pan. Make sure your pan and oil are hot before you place the chicken in. You want to ‘brown’ the chicken on all sides to seal in the flavor. This may take 3 to 5 minutes or more depending on temperature and size of chicken chunks.
In another frying pan heat some olive or vegetable oil and add the potatoes. Cook for 3 minutes or so, stirring every now and again. Add the carrots and daikon radish and continue cooking, then add the onions. The mushrooms and zucchini are last as they need the least amount of precooking.
In 3/4 of a cup of water add 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, 1 or 2 tablespoons of hot pepper paste depending on your heat tolerance, (I used 2), and 2 tablespoons of the soy base sauce from the last post. Mix well. If you don’t have any sauce pre made, use 2tbs soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1 tsp minced ginger.
Add the chicken chunks and vegetables together, add liquid and stir together. Cover with a lid; you can see I had trouble finding one large enough and ended up using a metal pizza tray. Cook on low to medium for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. You don’t want the liquid to boil away, although some recipes take the alternative view and want you to cook the last few minutes on high to boil away the liquid giving the chicken and vegetables a glaze rather than a stew like quality. I like the stew type more because the liquid can soak into my rice making it more flavorful. Both ways are good so experiment a little to see which you prefer. After all you may be the one creating your family recipe to pass on to your family members.
You can now add the spring onions, and if you feel really fancy you can fry an egg and cut into strips as an added garnish.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as it is one of my favorites. Let me know how it turns out.
Have a great day everyone.
Please do not copy without permission and accreditation. Photo credits to Debora Marzec.