How to make spicy Korean chicken stew with potatoes, tender chicken pieces and potatoes coated in a spicy sauce made with Gochujang paste.
Asian chicken stew
This Korean chicken stew has become one of my favorite chicken dishes lately. I have already cooked it several times, it is just that good.
A very straightforward recipe, no special techniques or steps required, just a few good ingredients and a minimum of effort. And the result is absolutely mouthwatering. You will not believe how tender those thighs will become, how good that sauce will be and how you will lick every bit of leftover sauce from the bottom of your pan after being finished with the chicken and potatoes.
And the best thing about this Asian stew, if you ask me, is that I get to taste something so different from the food I usually eat without having to spend lots of money on ingredients that are not available here or having to learn special cooking techniques.
I make one stew or another very often, my blog is full of stew recipes. But they are mostly Romanian stews because Romanian people like me just love food served in form of a stew. Just have a look at this Romanian paprikash with dumplings, this chicken and pea stew, or this easy potato stew, for instance.
So cooking this Asian stew was both familiar and different. Completely different taste, although so similar to a regular Romanian or European-style stew. But the spices make all the difference.
- You can use a whole chicken and cut that into 8 parts. Or you could use just legs like I did, either thighs or drumsticks or rather a mixture of the two.
- I don’t often skin the chicken when cooking it, but I do that most of the time when cooking a stew. I like the skin a lot when it is crispy and spicy, but I don’t like it when it is soft and floppy and that’s the way it will become when braised almost immersed in a lot of sauce.
- The skinning is optional, do as you like. I do recommend removing the skin, but that is just personal preference. Read the end of the blog post to find out how you can use the leftover skin.
Korean Gochujang paste:
- Another important ingredient, the only one which might require an Asian store (or the internet) in order to buy it.
- The Gochujang paste is a fermented condiment – hot pepper paste – containing chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.
- It comes in several heat degrees, so you might want to pay attention to that when purchasing gochujang paste.
- I used a medium Gochujang paste, which is so hot it makes me wonder how hot the hot paste is… Probably unbearable for me.
- I bought this paste to make the Korean chicken wings and the oven-baked chicken drumsticks with honey and I still have some, it keeps well in the fridge and I can never use as much as required in a recipe, it is just too much. So, because I use it so economical, I still have some to use for other recipes as well.
- The rest of the ingredients are pretty basic and easy to find just about anywhere.
- In case you cannot find or want to buy a bottle of rice vinegar, you can use cider vinegar instead, cider vinegar is a pretty mild-flavored vinegar that will not overpower the dish.
How to make?
- Mix the wet ingredients (water, soy sauce, vinegar) in a wide and not too tall a thick-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, a pot large enough to hold all the meat pieces in a single layer. Whisk in the Gochujang paste and the honey, add the chili flakes and the pepper.
- Skin the chicken pieces (if desired) and place the parts in the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- Add the chopped vegetables (potatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, and ginger), stir well, cover again and cook for further 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened.
- If you like your sauce to be thicker, you can thicken it with a small amount of corn starch slurry (1 tablespoon corn starch mixed with 1-2 tablespoons cold water to form a runny thick paste, which will be whisked into the boiling sauce).
- Stir in the sesame oil, check the seasoning and sprinkle the chicken stew with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds just before serving.
How to serve?
- We served the Korean chicken and potato stew with kimchi, but a green salad with vinaigrette dressing would be great as well.
- The stew reheats well.
A note on the chicken skin:
- If you don’t like wasting the skin of the chicken, you can cut it into small pieces and render their fat in a small pot.
- Place the finely chopped skin to a small thick-bottomed pot or saucepan and render the fat on very low heat, until the skin pieces are golden and crispy and the fat surrounds them.
- Strain the fat through a small sieve into a small jar, let cool and refrigerate.
- Place the crispy skin pieces onto kitchen paper, which will absorb the extra fat, salt them and enjoy them very fresh, either on top of the chicken stew, on a salad, or just like that. They are best eaten fresh, they become soft after a while.
- You can use the rendered fat instead of oil or butter when cooking and you can even smear it thinly on fresh bread, sprinkle it with salt, and enjoy it as it is, this kind of bread with rendered fat (mostly pork) was a very common bread spread in the Communist days in Romania.
More Asian dishes:
- 350 ml/ 12 fl.oz/ 1 ½ cups water
- 60 ml/ 2 fl.oz/ ¼ cups soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (Note 1)
- 1-2 tablespoons Korean Gochujang paste (Note 2)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1,2 kg/ 2.6 lbs chicken thighs
- 500 g/ 1.1 lbs potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 thumb-size piece of ginger
- 1 tablespoon corn starch, optional (Note 3)
- 1-2 tablespoons cold water, optional
- 2 scallions
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- fine sea salt
- Use a wide, thick-bottomed pot or Dutch oven that will hold all the chicken pieces in one single layer. Place the water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Gochujang paste, honey, chili flakes, and pepper into the pot. Whisk well.
- Skin the chicken pieces and arrange them in the pot in a single layer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks. Cut the carrots and the onion into chunks as well. Peel the garlic cloves and chop them finely. Peel and grate the ginger.
- Add the prepared vegetable to the pot and stir to make sure that they are all mixed in the sauce. Cover again and cook for further 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the lid from the pot and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened.
- If you like your sauce to be thicker, you can thicken it with a small amount of corn starch slurry. Mix 1 tablespoons corn starch with 1-2 tablespoons cold water to form a thick yet still runny paste. Whisk this slurry into the boiling sauce, let bubble shortly, and remove the pot from the heat.
- Stir in the sesame oil, check the seasoning, and sprinkle the chicken stew with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds just before serving.
- Cider vinegar can be used instead.
- Use Gochujang paste according to taste. My paste is medium, yet so hot I cannot use more than one tablespoon if I want the kids to be able to eat with us.
- You will only need the corn starch slurry (made with corn starch and water) if you desire your sauce to be thicker. Otherwise, you can leave this step out.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of the dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 740Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 366mgSodium: 1809mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 5gSugar: 15gProtein: 79g
Nutritional information is not always accurate.