Friday, 25 April 2014


My family loves Korean food. Although I am not much of a good cook, I will try my best to replicate authentic Korean dishes at home.

Today, I am sharing with you this easy spicy chicken stew known as Dakdoritang or Dakbokkeumtang in Korean. I have been cooking this regularly as it has now become my favourite one-pot meal...delicious and yet easy to put together. Most importantly, I can always prepare this earlier in the afternoon at a much leisurely pace than having to wok up 3 dishes during the evening rush hour. It makes home cooking a much fun activity for me to 'enjoy'...of course, minus the washing, cleaning, mopping and putting every single utensils and cutlery back to where they belong, single handedly.

The main ingredients or rather the dish itself looks similar to our curry chicken dish with potatoes. But, the taste is totally different. While our curry chicken tastes spicy, milky and flavoured with lots of spice, dakdoritang is equally spicy, but tastes lighter and slightly sweet. You won't feel jelak(to describe the stage when you won't enjoy the food any more after taking too much of it or it means the food is too rich) even you were to over eat, I am speaking from experience (^^"). This dish also reminds me of the non-spicy Chinese version of braised chicken and potato stew. I personally prefer this Korean version since we really like spicy food.

To prepare this dish, besides the basic ingredients, there are two Korean ingredients to get ready, Gochujang ((고추장) and Gochugaru (고추가루). Gochujang or red chili paste is easily available at local supermarkets here. I have to make special trips to get my Gochugaru, red chili powder (coarse chili flakes) from Korean supermarts though. It usually comes in bigger packs but I can get smaller ones (300g) from Shine Korea Supermarket. I am sure you won't have problem or be confused when buying gochujang as it comes in Red plastic tubs (see here). Those in Green tubs are SSamjang and Brown tubs are Doenjang. So, just grab the Red ones! For Gochugaru, do read this post by Maangchi to avoid getting the wrong type of chili powder. Do not attempt to replace gochugaru with other types of chili powder and always look for gochugaru made in Korea.

Despite its fiery red appearance, it is only mildly spicy as I use less chili powder. This is a very comforting and hearty dish, I simply love the potatoes that have absorbed all the flavours and the sauce is great to drizzle over hot steamed rice. Yum!

Dakdoritang (Korean Spicy Chicken Stew)


1 medium size whole chicken, cleaned and cut into 2x2 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 green chili, sliced
1 red chili, sliced
2 stalks spring onions, chopped
½ tablespoon cooking oil
1½ cups water

2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon ginger juice (grate fresh ginger and squeeze to get juice)
2 tablespoons light soya sauce (I used only 1½ tbs)
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste, Gochujang
1 tablespoon Korean red chili powder, Gochugaru (use 2 tbs if prefer the dish to be very spicy)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • Combine seasoning ingredients in a bowl, mix well and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan until hot but not smoking. Pan fry the chicken for about 5mins. 
  • Add the seasoning mixture, stir to combine. Add in water and bring to the boil. Cover with lid and turn to medium low heat, leave to simmer for about 10mins. 
  • Add the onions, carrots and potatoes, stir to combine. Cover with lid and leave to simmer for about 20~25mins or until the chicken is cooked but the vegetables are not mushy. Stir occasionally while it is cooking.
  • Remove cover and turn heat to high. Let the mixture boil for 1 to 2 mins until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened. 
  • Turn off the heat, toss in the sliced spring onions and the green and red chilies. Dish up and serve hot with rice.
Recipe source: adapted from Korean by Lee Minjung

Saturday, 19 April 2014

pizza in a cuppa

I don't know what has got into me when I googled using the key words 'pizza muffins'.

I have some left over cheese, ham and pineapples after making a seafood pizza and a hawaiian pizza. Not knowing what to do with the leftover ingredients, I surfed the net for recipe ideas. Nothing much inspires me when I searched using the words such as 'ham and pineapple'. A silly thought suddenly came to my mind and I typed 'pizza muffins' in the search box. I wasn't expecting anything at all...but to my surprise, pizza muffins is actually nothing new!

It took me no time to decide on this Hawaiian pizza muffins by Donna Hay since I have most of the ingredients on hand. I halved the recipe and adapted it slightly as I needed to substitute a couple of the ingredients.

These delicious savoury muffins smell just like pizzas when they are baking in the oven! They are great for afternoon snacks and certainly a great way to use up any left over pizza ingredients :)

Hawaiian Pizza Muffins

(makes 9)

225g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional)
105g grated cheddar (divide into 60g and 45g portion)
100g ham, chopped
100g chopped pineapple, drained
80ml vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I replaced with 2 tablespoons pasta sauce)
1 egg
120ml milk

  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Sieve flour, baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add salt, mixed herbs (if using), 60g of the grated cheese, ham and pineapple, mix to combine. 
  • Place the oil, tomato paste (I used pasta sauce), egg and milk in a bowl and whisk to combine. 
  • Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, with a spatula mix until just combined. 
  • Spoon into 1/3 cup-capacity (80ml) paper muffin cups and sprinkle top with remaining cheese. 
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. These muffins are best served freshly baked. Any leftovers can be stored in air tight containers. Warm them in the oven before serving. 
Recipe source: adapted from Donna Hay.