Soy braised beef ribs (kalbi tchim) is a classic Korean dish that is quick to prepare, but slow to cook. In this rendition, beef is replaced with chicken to make the dish lighter and quicker.
This dish is reminiscent of Shandong chicken wings
due to the combination of sweet and soy flavors. Shandong chicken wings, however, are crunchy and packed with flavor - ideal for an appetizer. Soy braised chicken is a little more mellow and ideal as a main.
Serves 4 people
1 whole chicken or 8 chicken thighs
1/2 cup soy sauce
5 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp mirin
1/3 cup sugar, or more to taste
1 tsp ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 scallions, cut into 1/2 inch lengths
1 jalapeño pepper (optional if you want a little spice)
6 fresh or dried shitake mushrooms, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 inch length daikon, cut lengthwise in half and then sliced into 1/8 inch "half moons"
If you are using a whole chicken, break it down into eight pieces
(two each of breasts, thighs, legs, and wings). After that you will need to break the chicken down further into one-inch pieces, cutting through the bone if necessary.
For the breasts, cut each into three to four strips around one inch in diameter. For the thighs, cut each in half through the bone. Each wing has three joints - cut into thirds and discard the wing tip. For the drumstick, cut lengthwise along one side of the bone into two pieces - one slightly larger than the other.
Add the chicken pieces to a medium-sized pot large enough that the pieces are not stacked too high.
In a small bowl, mix the soy, sesame oil, mirin, sugar, pepper, garlic, scallion, and jalapeño (if so inclined). Taste. It should be slightly sweet with neither the sugar, soy nor sesame oil overpowering the other. If required, re-balance the flavors by adding more of the weakest ingredient.
The sauce, tasted, rebalanced, and tasted again (just because it tasted good)
Pour the sauce over the chicken. Add the shitake mushrooms and daikon. Add enough water until the ingredients are just covered, but not more than 3/4 to one cup.
The chicken - ready to cook. As is typical for me, I am cooking for two today so I've used just the legs and thighs of a chicken (the best bits for this dish). I am also out of daikon. No matter as I will just bulk up on my vegetables with a side of stir-fried zuchinni.
Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is reduced and starts to caramelize. It should be the thickness of a thin gravy by the time you are ready to serve.
If using dried shitake mushrooms, soaking them in boiling water for a minute or two will make them easier to slice.