Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dak Jim (Korean Chicken And Vegetables)

Many folks can remember their first cookbook. Mine was the Peanuts Cookbook, way back in the early 70's. But, the first cookbook that I actually went out and bought when I was old enough to actually get some use out of it was Foods of the Orient: Japan and Korea. I bought my copy a couple of years after it came out, while I was in South Africa. This cookbook has followed me all around the globe and it has provided many a great meal. While I was already familiar with Japanese cuisine, having lived in Japan, this opened my eyes up to a number of dishes I wasn't familiar with and allowed me to cook them myself.
  I have many favoured recipes from this well worn book, but my hands down, absolute favourite is the recipe for Dak Jim (Steamed Chicken and Vegetables). I have looked at and tried other versions of this recipe, but I always return to the one from this cookbook. It is the best I've run across. Now, I'm going to share it with you. This version of the recipe is in American measurements. All the recipes in the book come in two versions, Metric/Imperial and American. That makes this cookbook an international multitasker. Sadly, it is long out of print, but is available in the used market.

This recipe scales up quite easily if you need to make more, which I have had to do at times. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Dak Jim (Korean Steamed Chicken and Vegetables)

1x 4lb chicken cut up into 8-10 pieces
2 carrots, cut into thin strips  (I use a peeler and shave them)
3 dried mushrooms, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes, drained and thinly sliced
1 bamboo shoot, sliced (or 1 can sliced)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs. soft brown sugar
1 Tbs. roasted sesame seeds, ground or crushed
salt and pepper

Garnish (Optional)
2 eggs, seperated

Put the chicken pieces in a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is tender. Drain and reserve the stock. When the meat is cool enough to handle, cut the chicken into bite sized strips.
   Put all the remaining ingredients, except the garnish, into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir in the chicken strips and reserved stock, cover ans simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked but still crisp.
   Meanwhile, make the garnish. Beat the egg yolks and whites separately until they are both well mixed. Lightly oil a frying pan and heat it over moderate heat.Pour in the egg white and spread over the bottom in a thin layer. Cook until the bottom is firm, then turn over and cook until the other side is firm. Slide on to a warmed dish and cook the egg yolks in the same way. Cut the cooked eggs into strips.
   Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a warmed serving bowl and scatter over the garnish before serving.

Serves 6 

Preparation and cooking time: 2 1/2 hours

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Wonderful Paste, Hummus!

Well, I said I would put up a recipe for this wonderful food and here it is. I ran across this recipe a few years ago and adapted it for my own use. It is a truly good recipe and well worth the time it takes to make. Easily the equal of anything you can get at a Middle Eastern restaurant or even in the Middle East, and certainly better than anything you'll get from a grocery cooler. If you have access to a Middle Eastern store , (like our local grocery/eatery, Al Basha, in Fishers, IN), I would encourage you to get your ingredients there. Especially if they carry good quality ingredients from the Middle East. It will make a difference in the final product. I use a Syrian tahini and a Turkish olive oil and am fortunate enough to have access to Al Basha's great fresh baked pita. Terroir makes a difference in almost any recipes. So, without further ado, here you are.


1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbs plus 1/4 tsp baking soda
Salt (to taste)
Olive Oil
Fresh Italian Parsley
Paprika (optional)


Rinse chickpeas in cold water to remove any dirt or dust. Place chickpeas in  2 qt. pan and cover with water, adding 1 Tbs of baking soda. Let soak overnight.
Drain soaked chickpeas and rinse.
Return to pan and cover with water. Add remaining baking soda. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 1-1 1/2 hours, adding more water, if necessary. Cook till chickpeas are soft and easily squashed. Drain, reserving a portion of the cooking water. Give chickpeas a quick rinse to remove any foam or skins. Let cool to room temperature.
Place cooled chickpeas in a food processor and pulse till well chopped.
Add lemon juice, tahini and cumin. Mix all ingredients. Taste. Add salt to taste and mix till smooth. If the paste is too thick add some of the reserved cooking water and mix till the desired consistency is achieved.
Remove hummus to small plates or bowls. Create a small, shallow well and add olive oil. Garnish with chopped parsley or paprika. Serve with pita bread and olives or your favourite scooping food, (some folks in the Middle East like to use onion petals). Enjoy!