Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to make Jjimdak... it's Andong FAMOUS!

If we mention to anyone who knows a little about Korea that we live in Andong, usually people say "Oh, the jjimdak place!"  Danny and I laugh because people from Andong say that it is "famous" for about a thousand different things, but it actually is really famous for jjimdak.  Jjimdak is one of my favorite Korean foods and I was really excited when friends, Sara and Heelak, wanted to try to make it.  I will have to tweak the recipe a little to make it just perfect, but we are on the right track.

So for your eating pleasure, here is how to make the one and only ANDONG JJIMDAK!! (said with an echo ; )  I am not a expert when it comes to Korean food by any means and when I cook I do "a little of this and a little of that" so sorry if this isn't as specific as you would like.  I will add a specific recipe at the bottom you can try, but here are the general directions for now...

Ingredients you need:  "glass noodles" or starch noodles, soy sauce, pear and vinegar marinade (you can get this at a Asian grocery store, but I think you can omit this if you have to), corn or rice syrup, sesame oil, carrots, potatoes, red and/or green chili peppers (dried or fresh), LOTS of garlic, what I can only call HUGE scallions (maybe leeks?), white onion, chicken (you choose boneless or not), water, salt, and pepper.

Step 1:  If you get bone-in chicken you need to soak it in the marinade and remove the skin.  Koreans think the bone adds a lot of flavor, which is true, but I'm sure you could do this boneless and save yourself the time of picking the bones out while eating.

Me and Heelak "de-skinning"

Step 2: Cut up all your vegetables. 

We had lots of helpers, so it went quick.  Cut your potatoes and carrots into 1/4 inch thick rounds.  Then cut up your scallions into longer strips and your white onion into chunks.  Now can you take some heat?  Cut as much red and/or green chili pepper that you want... in Andong we have to ask for it "tol mepgay" which means "less spicy" because I can take some heat, but full-strength Andong Jjimdak is ridiculous!

And cut up a RIDICULOUS amount of garlic.  Seriously, I cut up like 20 cloves... so I guess this isn't really a "first date" kinda meal ; )

Step 3: Soak your glass noodles in water.  We've had jjimdak that has tdoek (Korean rice cake) in it and that was an awesome addition but you traditionally there is only glass noodles in it.

Step 4:  Combine all the ingredients for the amazing jjimdak sauce!  Put together soy sauce, sesame oil, corn syrup, lots of cloves of garlic, scallions, red chili pepper and start it a boilin'.  You want the sauce to get thicker so you gotta boil it for a little while.  *** Taste the sauce and make sure it has a good flavor...some like it a bit sweeter so if that's the case you can add a little brown sugar at this point.

Step 5:  While sauce is boiling, boil the chicken as well.  Don't cook the chicken fully, but just boil it enough to get all that "foam" stuff to come off the chicken.  Skim the foam off the top and pour out the chicken water.  (Reserve a little just in case you need some for the sauce.)

Step 6:  Combine the partially cooked chicken and the sauce together and continue to boil it.  (side note: take out the garlic cloves from the sauce.)  Keep it going for a maybe 10 minutes so the chicken soaks up all the amazing soy sauce, garlic, chili goodness.

Step 7:  After a few minutes add the vegetables, glass noodles, and minced garlic.  Boil all the ingredients together till the potatoes, carrots and onions are cooked through.  Pour your completed dish of jjimdak into a large bowl or platter and ENJOY!  (As you can see our jjimdak was a little lighter then the true Andong version, but I think we just needed a little bit more sauce to make it right.)

**Some tips to make your Jjimdak seem really authentic:  this amazing dish usually has a side of pickled radish that helps with cutting the heat in between bites and a bowl for your discarded bones if you use bone-in chicken.  Also, since the noodles seem never ending, it's really helpful to have a pair of scissors at hand so you can cut the noodles where need be.

There you go!  Go out and make yourself a famous dish that will make you fall in love with Korean food like we did.  But know that no matter how perfectly you make jjimdak at home, you still gotta come to Andong to try it on the "famous" Andong Jjimdak street... the smell of garlic wafting through the air and restaurant owners beckoning you inside is a cool site not to be missed : )

WAIT, here's some exciting NEWS!!!  Next week will be my 100 post for this blog and I'm really excited!  I honestly didn't think I would make it this far in posting and Kimchi for Breakfast has really been a surprisingly fun way for us to share our adventure here in Korea.  To celebrate that we stuck with it, Danny and I are going to be doing a GIVEAWAY next week!  It's a secret prize so make sure and check it out.  See you next week!

Here's a link for the completed Jjimdak recipe: 

(I will try to post the official one that we used, but it's all in Korean as of now so we have to have it translated.  Anyways, enjoy!)


  1. I think I'll wait until you come home and cook it for me! We had our Christmas party for the defunct Bible study last week--and missed you lots. The Eggstractor made another appearance!

  2. Hi, do you know where i can find jjimdak in a restaurant in singapore?