4-lb pre-cut chicken with skin on and bone in (Marja's recipe calls for a whole chicken and to butcher it but I like to save time and buy the chicken pre-cut. I like drumsticks so I put a lot of those in my mixture)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs canola oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 tbs gochugaru (red pepper powder)
3 tbs fish sauce
3 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs gochujang (red pepper paste)
4 tbs sake
1 tbs honey
8 small boiling potatoes, halve the big ones
2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunches scallions, chopped
1 fresh red chili pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, wide heavy pot over medium high heat and brown the chicken on both sides. This takes roughly 5 to 6 minutes per side and you can do this in batches.
Meanwhile, mix garlic, gochugaru, fish sauce, soy sauce, gochujang, sake, honey, and 2 cups of water together. Set the sauce aside.
When all the chicken is browned, add all the chicken to the pot and then, top it with potatoes, onions, and carrots. Add the sauce mixture and pour enough water that all the pieces of chicken are either completely or partially submerged with water. I used 1 more cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium-low for 1 hour. Check every 15 minutes or so and stir occasionally. Add scallions and red chili pepper at the end and turn off the heat on the stove.
Serve with warm rice.
Marja calls the mixture of garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sake (you can use soju or water as a replacement), gochugaru, and gochujang as Umma paste. Umma meaning mom. She couldn't be any more right. My mom did always have some sort of red pepper paste in the fridge that she scooped into random things!
The fresh Korean red chili pepper in this recipe is totally optional. The pepper I had was actually sweet and had a mild spiciness to it. I liked the color that it added to the dish.
My trick to getting chicken to brown properly is to pat the chicken down with a dry paper towel. You want to take out as much of the moisture as possible so that the skin sears perfectly. It always works. Also, I didn't fill the pot completely with water. I just wanted to make sure that all the pieces chicken were covered just enough. The main concept with braising is when the meat cooks for a long period of time and at a low temperature with liquid. If you don't have enough liquid in the pot, the chicken will dry out and we don't want that. That is why I left the chicken on the bottom of the pot. The veggies are not as sensitive to this and can steam at the top.
After about an hour, the chicken should be completely cooked through and super moist and delicious.
I was planning to wait for Mat to come home to eat dinner together but I couldn't help myself and I had to have a bite! The seasoning was perfect and the chicken was so tender and juicy. You can use the broth to pour over rice (that is what Mat loves to do) and because I cooked with bone in chicken, the broth has a great depth of flavor. I love braising meat... I've done it in the past with a Moroccan chicken tagine and galbi jjim. This recipe is totally a winner.