I was after something simple and homely, something I could stick on the stove so that I could flop on the couch and gaze inanely at the TV. I wanted something vivid with a variety of textures and I wanted something meaty. I knew I was being picky but a quick Google search told me that Korean was the way to go.
Usually a winter dish, Dak Doritang (spicy simmered chicken stew) has many variations and recipes, but all I found include chicken and potatoes. And then served over rice. Double carbing! I was sold.
This recipe is an amalgamation of lots I found over the internet, and having never been to Korea or tried this dish in a Korean restaurant, I have no idea whether it is 'authentic' or not. It is delicious though, and given how simple it was to put together and the short ingredients list, it is set to be a staple. The sweetness of the sauce tempers the heat of the chilli, making it tongue-tingling but not excruciating. Well, not for me anyway; my housemate broke a sweat so if you're not very tolerant perhaps dial down the chilli powder a bit. It's not the most attractive of dishes - stews, I find rarely are - but more a giant bowl to bury your face in.
I used dark chicken meat on the bone which I think is very important; given that you're using a water base rather than stock you need to get maximum flavour given the relatively short simmering time, and the bones help do this. Also, it's more fun eating meat off the bone. I kept the skin on the chicken, adding more flavour and texture and I understand that flabby chicken skin isn't high on everyone's favourites list, but personally I love it. Remove it if it gives you the wibbles.
For the sauce: 2 tbsp Gochujang (get this at your local Asian supermarket)
3 tbsp coarse Korean chilli powder (this stuff is not blow-your-face-off but gives it the red colour so if you use a different chilli powder be careful with quantities)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2" piece of ginger, minced
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp rice wine (Shaoxing)
2 tbsp ketchup (yes really)
4 large chicken thighs - get your butcher to chop each into 4 for you, or get your cleaver out.
2 medium white onions, chopped into 6
2 carrots, chopped roughly
6 new potatoes, sliced in half (so they're bite-sized)
A handful of green beans - any greenery you have, really
4 spring onions, sliced diagonally
Bring a pan of water to the boil and drop the chicken pieces in. Simmer for two minutes, drain and rinse the pan and the chicken thoroughly.
Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients and add the chicken, tossing well. Place back in the pan and bring to the simmer. Add the potatoes and the onions and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on, then add the onions and simmer for another 20 mins lid on, tossing all the ingredients in the sauce well. If it's looking a little dry, add more water but this is supposed to be nice and thick. Remove the lid, stir and add the greenery and simmer for another 15 minutes, gently. Serve over steamed white rice with the sliced spring onions garnishing each dish.