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Food with Seoul

Passport & Plate - Dakgalbi with Coleslaw Kimchi

South Korea | Friday, 6 March 2015 | 5 photos


Ingredients
600g chicken thigh fillets
Cooking oil for frying

Marinade:

50 ml ketchup
50 ml black soya bean paste (chunjang)
25 ml Korean chilli paste (gochujang)
50 ml Korean or Japanese soy sauce
½ tbsp minced garlic
½ tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp sugar
25 ml toasted sesame oil

For the Coleslaw Kimchi :

Approx. 600g white cabbage
200 g finely shredded leek
100 g finely shredded carrot
2 tbsp Korean chilli powder (gochugaru)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tbsp distilled malt vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1-2 tsp salt
½-1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds

 

How to prepare this recipe
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Slice into smaller pieces.

Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade, add the chicken and leave to marinate for about 15 minutes.

Take the chicken out of the marinade and cook in oil in a frying pan on a medium heat for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Shred the white cabbage and mix together with the leek and carrot in a bowl.

Add the other ingredients and mix. Can be eaten straight away and will keep fresh in the fridge for 1 week.

Serve the dakgalbi and coleslaw kimchi with salad leaves scattered with radish shoots and with boiled rice

 

The story behind this recipe
The aroma of dakgalbi sizzling in giant woks while my husband and I wait patiently for the waiter to meld the luscious chicken pieces together with the shredded cabbage and gochujang (red pepper paste) lingers in my sensory memory. Now, far from our home of three years in Korea, but only a few weeks in time, I consider the plump, pink, rather mournful chicken thighs sitting on my chopping board waiting for me to bring them back to life in my optimistic take on the fiery original. Some cabbage, carrots and leek will submit to this culinary surgeon’s knife to add zest and crunch as the only truly acceptable accompaniment to any Korean dish - kimchi - beloved of Korean soldiers in battle, credited with driving the country’s spectacular economic growth and now a global superfood.

The amazing street food in Seoul stimulated our taste buds in a way no other Asian cuisine has managed to do. I can’t possibly (and actually wouldn’t want to) imitate the preparation of the dakgalbi we so enjoyed there. That was as much a social as a culinary experience, with friends huddled over the steaming wok, dipping in with impatient spoons, their red aprons protecting them from the red pepper sauce. Instead, I have made the chicken stand alone, with the cabbage, whose crunchy goodness would be rather lost in the all-in version, becoming a more prominent element in the dish. I have combined it with carrot and leek to resemble more our familiar coleslaw, but the flavours of the dressing are redolent of those we experienced whenever we ate kimchi. In the end I became so addicted that I would even strew my spaghetti carbonara with kimchi, so I’m sure this version will find a regular place on any western dining table too.

As I breathe in the aromas, I’m back at the table, surrounded by chatter and the noise of the kitchen. And I hear again the welcome words of the waiter as he nods to show his work is done – “Jigeum dangsin-eun meog-eul su issseubnida”/”Now you can eat!”

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