My housemates on the second floor inspired this dish. I may have shared with you in a past post, but I live in a special situation where everyone in my building is a friend or family member of mine. On the third floor you have my brother and sister in law, second floor are our friends from before we all lived together, and then first floor is my closest friend from college and myself. Or, as my roommate likes to call it: Uptown, Midtown, and Downtown. Together we make up a dysfunctional commune of eaters, activists, acupuncturists, techies, creatives, students, and drinkers. The first and last reside Downtown.
It is because of my friends on Midtown that I was introduced to so many Korean flavors and dishes. There have been many times that I would visit the second floor for lunch and dinner and they would share a variety of Banchan made by them or their mother. It was an awesome experience and opened my eyes to the complexities of Korean flavors and the thought that goes into creating a well-rounded meal of small sides. It also made me discover what an abundance of kimchi in one’s diet will do to a human’s plumbing system. No, seriously, it was like three weeks straight of just kimchi. I think I may have discovered the new celebrity cleanse.
Second floor also taught me about the amazing qualities of one of the most important condiments in a Korean kitchen: Gochujang. This delightful and bright paste is made from fermented soybean, rice, salt, and chili peppers. The rice and soybean in the beautifully red paste imparts sweetness from the fermentation process of the starch. The process of creating gochujang is very similar to creating miso paste, with the addition of chili powder. A paste of soy bean and rice is left out to ferment in giant jars that are laid out in the in sun. One of the main different between the two pastes is the addition of spice to the Korean version. After it’s introduction to Koreans in the late 16th century by the Europeans, chili was added to the paste to create one of the staples of Korean kitchens. If you can’t get Gochujang, you can substitute it with red miso paste and chili sauce mixed together. It’s not going to be the same, but it will get the general flavors for this chicken recipe.
You can grill the chicken if you would rather have that charred flavor to it, just make sure it is on medium high heat and extend the cooking time to ensure the chicken is cooked through.
1 5lb chicken, broken down
½ c gochujang
2 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs sesame oil
1 c scallion, minced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tbs sugar
½ c onion, minced
1 tsp gochugaru (Korean chili powder)
2 tsp salt
mix all ingredients in a bowl and marinade for at least 3 hours, better if you can do it overnight
preheat oven to 450°f
place chicken pieces on a roasting pan and roast for 30 min, or until the meat is cooked through
-serves 4 to 6-