Chicken Legs in Doenjang (Korean Soybean Paste) and Gochujang

misogochchickenpIt was a total improvisation and I still cannot believe it gave such a marvellous result. Even though I have just come back from a short trip to Rome, which was a marvellous culinary experience, the dinner I dreamt of was fiery and Asian (yes, I am addicted…). I was tired by a long car trip, so anything complicated was out of question. I found two chicken legs in the fridge, I took out a jar of gochujang (Korean chilli paste), a tub of doenjang ( Korean soybean paste), one onion and some leftover stock I had in the freezer. Simmered for two hours in this mixture of ingredients, the chicken legs became fork tender, while the mixture of stock, soybean paste and gochujang has thickened turning into a sticky hot sauce. These few products created an amazing aroma, a complex taste and proved an extraordinary warming treat I will certainly make regularly this winter. I strongly recommend it to all the hot food lovers.

TIPS: If you don’t have the Korean soybean paste (doenjang), you can substitute it with the Japanese miso, which is a bit different. First of all Korean soybean paste has a stronger taste, so if you have only miso, use preferably a darker version. Japanese miso loses its nutritional values while simmered for a long time, while doenjang apparently doesn’t, so it is perfect for such a dish.

Taste the dish when it’s almost ready (the sauce is thick) and add more soybean paste if it’s not salty enough, or more gochujang, if it’s not hot enough.

I have served it with fresh chopped shiso and its strong taste was perfect here, but I am sure it would be also good with chives or spring onions.

Preparation: about 2 1/2 hours

Ingredients (serves two):

2 chicken legs (I have skinned and halved them but you can of course use whole legs with skin)

1 liter stock or water (use any stock, European or Asian, vegetarian or meat)

4 flat tablespoons Korean soybean paste or miso, preferably dark: red or black; or more

4 flat tablespoons gochujang (or more)

1 onion

1 tablespoon oil

(chopped shiso)

Slice the onion.

Heat the oil in a pan.

Fry the onion at medium heat until it softens.

Add the stock or water, the soybean paste, gochujang and stir well.

Add the chicken legs.

Cover the pan and make it simmer at low heat for one hour.

Take off the cover, increase the heat and simmer the dish for at least one more hour.

Taste when it’s almost ready and add more doenjang or gochujang if needed.

It’s ready when the sauce thickens and the meat falls off the bones when touched with a fork.

Serving it with chopped fresh shiso was a good idea, but you can choose any herb of your choice.


24 Replies to “Chicken Legs in Doenjang (Korean Soybean Paste) and Gochujang”

  1. I so much want to visit Rome! I hope it will happen soon! Isn’t it amazing how far improvisation can take us? Your idea resulted in a perfect dish my friend!

    1. Katerina, I also hope you can visit Rome soon. Don’t do this in the summer though… Even now in such a non-touristic period the main monuments are invaded by tourists like ants! There were actually human (tourists only) traffic jams. Everything looked so much more beautiful at midnight when tourists were already asleep ๐Ÿ˜‰ I imagine it must be the same in Greek towns… Thank you for the compliments!

  2. When I looked at your lovely picture the first thing I thought was “That looks spicy!”. :)) And apparently it is! Love it! Along with the spice, I love the simplicity of this dish – thrown it all in and walk away. That’s my kind of cooking! It’s amazing what one can create when they are tired and hungry. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip to Rome. Wish I could just get in the car and drive to Rome. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. The trip was mainly for work and unfortunately much too short… but it was lots of fun too!

  3. Rome?! Sounds so dreamy and love to visit soon. Wow! This looks very spicy but with warm cooked rice….satisfying meal! Very nice pic and love the blue bowl.

  4. Impromptu meals are often the best and this sounds like the perfect welcome home following your trip to Rome. I can just imagine how content and joyful this meal would be after travel when you’re not up to the fuss. (Sometimes, I wish I could photograph impromptu meals like this but it’s usually night time and I’m hardly set-up for it but it would be far more time economical than having to redo it all over again in day light…) — this looks great Sissi — warming in every sense and I like the sounds of how the chicken turned out, fork tender. Perfect. I’m going to stock up on Korean pastes tomorrow – sounds like the kind of staples I want to have on hand :).

    1. Dear Kelly, thank you so much for all the compliments. (Don’t tell anyone but I made this photo the following day: I made a double batch because the legs – in reality I had four – were close to the expiry date; my night photographs are just awful; it was even better reheated!).

    1. Thank you so much, Nami. Rome was excellent, though very short (two days and a half… I went there mainly for work, by car, so other two days were spent on the road with two short and very nice stops: in Milan and Bologna). I didn’t have anything “exotic” there, but the cold meats, the cheese, the wine and the pizzas are never so good outside of Italy!

  5. I take my hat off to you SIssi, that is some meal to prepare on the date you arrived from a long car trip! I have to confess, we usually order in or go out because I am too tired. On occasion we both feel like a soup that I had previously prepared and saved in the freezer, but JT is not much of a soup eater.
    The dish is beautiful, so rich in colour and from what you describe it sounds like the aroma was tantalizing!
    Sounds like a perfect dish to serve and eat after a long trip.

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. Actually I was so tired after all day shopping in Milan (we spent a night on our way back to Switzerland) and then the car trip, I wouldn’t be able to go out… I preferred to spend ten minutes preparing this meal and then stay on my couch, sipping wine and waiting for the chicken to cook itself ๐Ÿ˜‰ We don’t order food home here because we live in the centre and are surrounded by bars and restaurants so we don’t even have the habit! (I walk 5 minutes to my favourite pizzeria for example).

  6. Sissi, reading about your short stay…long car trip to Rome, reminds me of driving from one state to another which would take an entire day, but taking a trip to another part of Florida, would be the same amount of time by car, as for you driving to Rome. My first cousin lives 5hrs from us by car, and I promised myself that next time I will not drive alone!

    Your Korean inspired beautiful glaze chicken legs/or thighs would be a welcome for me even after a long trip…better than take-out, any time. Lovely presentation…as always. Love the glaze and the spicy flavor!

    1. Haha! US are such a big country! It’s the big advantage of living in Switzerland. It’s so close to many countries… by car and even more by plane. Thank you for the compliments.

  7. this
    Chicken Legs in Doenjang is looking flavorful and delicious. I love Korean bean paste and always have them around. They make everything tastes better. ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. Thank you so much, Kiran. It was a very short trip (for work mainly and we stayed only 2 days and half), but I have greatly enjoyed it.

  8. Rome and other parts of Itatly are the some destinations I would love to travel to one day! I’d love to hear more about the food you had there. The chicken is packed with flavors and I love anything cooked with Gochujang! Thanks for sharing this quick meal idea!

    1. Thank you, Yi. Rome is so different from the North of Italy and Tuscany I already knew… but I loved it (and I don’t talk about monuments which are obviously interesting). I stayed there only two days and didn’t really have anything original, but as I have already told someone, parmezan or cold meats are always so delicious in Italy, nothing to do with the poor copies sold abroad. I hope you can visit Italy soon.

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