Recipes

Chicken and rice porridge

Dakjuk 닭죽

One morning in Fortuna, Costa Rica, I asked my travel agent to find shuttle bus tickets for Quepos. He called a shuttle bus company and said all the tickets were sold out for the day. So I had to book tickets for the next day. Consequently I had a whole free day.

What shall I do? Hmm, a few seconds later, an exciting idea came up in my mind. How about cooking some Korean food for my friends I made there? Ooh whoo, it made me very excited! Then what shall I make without using special Korean ingredients? The recipe should be very easy! Yes! I had some leftover rice in my backpack from making gimbap lunch box the other day. Dakjuk! Yes, yes! Yayee! Let’s go to the supermarket!

I picked up a whole chicken, garlic, watermelon, and some other fresh vegetables and seasoning sauce to make Korean style salad (geotjeori); chicken soup for main dish, geotjeori for side dish, and watermelon for dessert! Oh my! Fuji mama! Perfect!  : )

Do I have any memories about dakjuk? Are you joking to me? Lol yes, of course I do! I can’t forget watching my late grand mother (father side) killing a chicken. The chicken was running around her yard just before it got killed! My grand mother was kind of a tough woman. She picked one chicken among the dozens of her chickens running and playing in her yard.

I watched her twisting its neck and waiting until it died. Then she put the chicken in hot water to remove all its feathers, and cut its stomach with a knife and took out all guts! It sounds horrible, but I never felt scared or disgusted at the time. Even though I felt sorry for the chicken, I remember, we were going to have delicious dakjuk soon for dinner, that’s all I was dreaming. When the chicken was boiling with lots of garlic, the smell spread in the village!

Her chickens were her live food resources just like her vegetables grown in her patch! : )

In Korea, sons-in-law are treated very well by their mothers-in-law. So when a son-in-law visits his mother-in-law’s house, he will expect her to cook chicken to welcome him. These days the custom may be changing.

My dakjuk in Costa Rica turned out great! All of my friends enjoyed the soup. They liked my geotjeori, too.

When you have many unexpected visitors, make dakjuk. You can feed so many people! If you want to add more side dishes, I recommend vegetable pancake or green onion (or Asian chives) pancake. What else? Of course don’t forget to serve kimchi.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Cooking time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
A whole chicken (about 3 pounds), 1 ½ cups of garlic cloves, 1 ½ cups of rice, 2 eggs, 3 green onions, salt, water.

For 2 kinds of  dipping sauce:
Salt and pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, hot pepper flakes, green onion, sesame seeds, sugar.

Directions:

  1. Soak 1½ cups of rice in cold water for 1 hour.
    *tip: if you like thinner soup style, use 1 cup of rice;  if you like thicker porridge style, use 1½ cups rice
  2. Wash and drain the whole chicken.
  3. Trim the fat from the chicken’s stomach area with scissors; cut off the tip of bum part. : )
  4. Place the chicken in a large pot and add 12-13 cups of water.
  5. Add 1½ cups of garlic cloves and bring to a boil over high heat for about 40 minutes.
  6. Turn down the heat to low-medium and cook 20 more minutes.
  7. Rinse and drain the rice, and add to the boiling chicken porridge.
  8. Remove any fat floating on top of the soup with a spoon or ladle.
  9. Keep boiling with the lid closed for another 30 minutes.
    *tip: lower the heat if it boils over
  10. Chop 3 stalks of green onion and beat 2 eggs and set aside.
  11. Check if the chicken is cooked tender or not by poking the meat with a fork or chopsticks. It’s usually tender after 1½ hour of cooking, but if it’s not tender enough, cook a little longer.
  12. Add 1 tbs salt to the soup and mix it with your spoon. The amount of salt depends on your taste, so use more or less as you like.

Ok, now time to serve!

Take the chicken out of the pot, transfer to a large plate, and put it on the table to serve.

Make 2 kinds of dipping sauce:

  1. Mix 1 tbs salt and ¼ ts black ground pepper in a small bowl
  2. Mix these ingredients in a bowl (this is my father’s favorite dipping sauce whenever  he had this dish):
    • 2 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs vinegar, 1 tbs chopped green onion, 1 ts sugar, 1 ts roasted sesame seeds, and 1 ts hot pepper flakes.

Now back to the chicken soup!

  1. Add the chopped green onions (from #10).
  2. Add the beaten eggs. Pour them in and wait for 10 seconds before stirring, to let them cook.

Your chicken soup (or porridge) is ready! Turn the heat off and serve.

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