Adding a little spice to the workweek

Between clinical work and finishing up clinical and research work in the evening once I leave the office, it often feels like the days are too short by the time I’ve managed to exercise and do a few chores or run errands.  That said, there is *always* time to be inspired to cook, using new and old recipes.  Even more so when there’s company for dinner!

Tonight, I planned ahead and prepared mae-un dak gui, or Korean chili paste spicy chicken.  I served it with stir-fried green beans, bok choy with ginger, mushrooms sautéed in miso butter, and brown rice.  Total comfort food, and a wonderful way to break in the new grill pan I received for Christmas!

The chicken itself needs to marinate at least 8 hrs (preferably overnight) – it is simple to throw together the night before or early in the morning before work, which is exactly what I did.  With flash-stir-fried veggies, it makes for a quick weeknight dinner!


Korean Chili Paste Spicy Chicken (mae-un dak gui, adapted from original recipe here):


1-1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons Korean chili pepper paste (gochujang)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoons mirin (or sake)
1/4 cup onion, pureed
1 1/2 tablespoons grated or finely minced ginger
1 tablespoons minced garlic
2 scallions, chopped into 1 inch segments, white and green parts separated

1. In a large bowl, mix the gochujang, soy sauce, water, white sugar, mirin, onion, ginger and garlic together. Make sure that the sugar is well incorporated in the marinade.
2. Add chicken to the marinade and mix well, making sure each chicken piece is thoroughly coated and has marinade incorporated into all the nooks and crannies. (Wearing disposable kitchen gloves would be helpful for this if you have them.)
3. Cover and marinate for at least 8 hrs or overnight.
4. When ready to cook, heat the grill pan over medium heat. Cook for about 7-9 minutes on one side over lower heat, as the higher sugar content of the marinade lends itself to burning. Do not move for the first few minutes to allow for searing and caramelization of the meat. Add chopped white scallion parts. Turn chicken and cook an additional 7-9 minutes on the other side, adding chopped green scallion parts about 1-2 minutes prior to removing the grill pan from the heat, just long enough to wilt slightly.