Oh, my gosh. This camera, it’s tricky, but I love it. And the tricky part isn’t necessarily taking the photo—I’ve been playing around with it enough to know (kind of) what I’m doing—but rather, juggling it while I’m cooking. It’s definitely not as sleek or easily stashed in between the levels of my knives like my phone was, which then makes it harder to remember, oh yes, photo, good, now keep going. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it, and of the photos I did manage to take, I’m actually REALLY thrilled with them!
BUT, that is NOT what this is supposed to be about. What this IS about, is Spicy Korean Chicken and my new obsession with broccolini. While broccoli is very clearly a staple for most stir fry, broccoli, I find, can be very bitter, albeit still delicious in all its various ways, but can make a stir fry all the more tart & bitter. Whereas broccolini, which is not young broccoli for the record, is a longer stalked, yet milder, dare I say, even buttery version of the broccoli that I think lends itself better to the tart and spicy Asian flavors incorporated in the dish I gave a go on over the week I was house sitting!
Now, I’m sure I’ve had Gochujang before without even realizing it, but I finally sought out my own bottle/container of the hot pepper paste, and now I don’t think I’ll ever make a spicy Asian dish without a dab of it. It’s a game changer, now that I’ve gotten to taste it solo, and incorporate it with other Asian elements, especially combos that typically, I’m not the biggest fan of. Sweet & sour, that’s all fine & dandy, but I don’t particularly like working honey into a lot of savory dishes that have called for it, or listed it as optional, because it gets too sweet, and overpowers. Honey & gochujang, however, now THAT is a match made in heaven! the gochujang is incredibly abrasive with its spice, an immediate smack to the face, but as a paste, everything is concentrated, so it makes sense, but it’s also got great notes of salt and citrus, and just the slightest hint of sweetness. And that is what the honey plays off of. On its own, the stuff is pretty spicy, but with honey, it’s mellowed and refined to balance it out more evenly in the dish. And thankfully, you can find the paste in pretty much any major grocery store in the Asian/Ethnic aisle. Think sriracha, but with a deeper, thicker flavor, but both are very similar in terms of the heat factor, both being made with fermented red peppers.
So with that being said, this sauce…it’s legit. It’s so easy to whip up, but incredibly complex and balanced with the levels of spicy, bitter, sweet, and salty. It’s SO good!!! And what I ended up doing was, after whipping up the batter for the chicken, getting the fry out of the way, and then got it all tossed in the sauce, I added the left over sauce to the veggies, and mm mm mm was it delicious! And considering how little is involved, it’s pretty darn healthy, especially when you have such a great mixture of veggies (I used grated/shredded carrots, broccolini, green pepper, and onion). And the whole meal took less than 30 minutes to make! Sure, frying up the chicken did take the most time because you definitely don’t want to overcrowd the pan, but once they’re done, toss it in the sauce, fry up the veggies till the broccolini is nice and green (5 minutes-ish) and then serve with rice! A great weeknight meal to be sure! And now I’m on the hunt for more recipes that call for gochujang! YUM! —Cooking Maggie
Spicy Korean Chicken from farm & fare