Recipe Source: Park, Allisa. Discovering Korean Cuisine. Dream Character, Lomita, 2007 p. 110
So, I'm having a party soon. Well, by the time this gets posted the party will have happened. It's not a big party, it's a small party. It's a small party because it's a gathering for people with an oddly specific interest in a subject that other people find kind of weird if not outright repulsive - epidemic disease and history. Maybe you don't find it weird. Heck, I thought I was more or less alone in my fascination until a chance Facebook post (on a completely different but possibly more esoteric subject) led to a comment by a friend, which led to an idea, which led to another idea, which led to a party. This is really the beauty of social media for me. Maybe we've gotten away from thank-you-cards and long correspondence but a chance post can lead to some great experiences. This is the second time this year - in the past six months really - that this person and I have conceived of some very fun ideas using Facebook. For all that may be nice about the more traditional forms of address, twenty years ago I would never have known that so many people in my social circle shared my fascination with something like plague. It's not like it comes up often in water-cooler conversation.
This is not a dinner party. It is an afternoon affair, more of a tea-time thing than anything else. Ordinarily cookies and crackers would suffice, and there will be some of that. Many of the people attending however have given up cereal grains completely for one reason or another, and I want to make sure that those people have something to eat. These are some of my favorite people in the whole wide world and the thought of them going hungry is even more horrifying than the thought of normal guests going hungry. So I racked my brains and found this recipe, which had the happy side effect of using up some of the chicken I already had in my freezer.
I made a few changes. I didn't have enough chicken to increase the recipe to accommodate the number of people planning to attend, and I didn't need all of the leftover vegetables that I would have if I only used the amount of vegetables called for in the original. I decided to stretch out the recipe with more vegetables on the grounds that just about everyone in America could probably use more vegetables in his life anyway. I omitted the scallions because while I thought I had some they'd actually gone horribly bad. The mushrooms that I used were fresh instead of dried. It was actually a lot cheaper. I knew that at least one of my guests could not tolerate very spicy food, so I used paprika for some of the chili powder and a mild, Turkish pepper paste in place of the hot Korean pepper paste called for in the original. I omitted the sugar and substituted honey for the corn syrup on the grounds that a) there was quite enough sugar - remember that I don't like sweet in my savory - and b) at least some of my guests are very leery of corn syrup in any form. I hadn't any mirin or sake, so on a whim I substituted rum. I didn't even drink any myself, which is nothing short of miraculous. I used jarred galangal in place of ginger because I was running out of time very quickly - I realize that galangal is not used in Korea and I apologize to Koreans everywhere, but I was up against a hard deadline and had to do what I could with what I had.
Ultimately I was pretty happy with the end result. The dish smelled right, which is nothing short of amazing considering all the substitutions I made. I would have been happier if the dish had more fire, but as I mentioned I felt that it was better to tone down the heat for my specific audience. I'd definitely make this again.
Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry (serves 6; approx. $3.18/serving)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
1 Savoy cabbage, shredded
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 package shiitake mushrooms, chopped
5 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons pepper paste
7 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons minced jarred galangal
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons rum
- Mixing bowl
- Large wok
- Combine 2 tablespoons sesame oil with the paprika, chili powder, pepper paste, garlic, galangal, honey and rum in the mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the chicken and mix well. Set aside while you prep the other ingredients.
- Heat the remaining oil in the wok until very hot. Turn on your vent fan.
- Add the chicken with its marinade. Stir fry about 3 - 4 minutes.
- Add the broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Stir fry until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the vegetables have achieved whatever texture you would like them to have - different people have different preferences in that regard.
- Serve hot.