Dak Jjim (닭찜) or Soy Sauce Chicken

Quick Look_______________

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Here's a quick and easy recipe to make in bulk. It's Korean braised chicken where you toss everything in a pot and it's ready to serve in an hour.

  • Prep time: 10-15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hr
  • Difficulty: Easy. Just make sure you fully cook everything
  • Labor Intensity: You can do on your own very easily!
  • 30 servings, adjust by 1.5x if your group tends to eat multiple servings.


  • 20lbs frozen chicken drumstick/thighs (usually about $1/lb on sale. If not, buy frozen bag at Safeway)
  • 10lb potatoes (about $4 @ Safeway)
  • water
  • Soy sauce
  • sugar
  • 5 onions
  • 2 garlic bunchs (use whole fresh bunches instead of pre minced)
  • 2-3 pots of rice
  • Total: about $25


  • Pour 4 cups soy sauce, 4 cups sugar, 6 cup water into a pot and heat on high until boiling, then reduce to medium heat. *you will need a large stock pot or 2 smaller pots.
  • Take chicken pieces and peel the skin off (if you want to). Another variation is to chop up the meat, but I usually skip that to save time.
  • Add chicken to pot and cook for 20 minutes.
  • While chicken is cooking, peel potatoes and chop into 1 inch pieces.
  • Separate garlic cloves from the bunch and take the flat end of a knife and place it over the clove. Hit the flat end with your palm to smash the garlic. Peel off the torn skin and throw the garlic into the pot.
  • Slice onions in any way.
  • After chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, stir and flip over chicken pieces and then add potatoes and onions.
  • Cook for 30-40 more minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
  • Serve with rice.

Tom's Tips and Tricks_______________

I like to add a few jalapenos with a slit down the side to add spice. I also like to add a few spoonfuls of red pepper paste and red pepper flakes. When I used to make this during my undergrad years, I'd like to add a little hickory/smoky BBQ sauce with soy sauce to give it a western flavor.

You can also add carrots. I would add about 2-3lbs baby carrots with potatoes.

Potatoes cook in about 30-40 minutes. Chicken should be cooking the whole time to avoid it being raw.

I like to serve with rice and pour a ladle of juice in the pot over the rice.

When cooking, make sure the lid is closed so it doesn't get too concentrated and to keep the water level the same.

[Possible side dish] Serve with rice


Potatoes are versatile; however, not all potatoes are created equally. When should you pay a little more and use red potatoes?

What gives potatoes different characteristics is how the starch molecules are arranged. When the glucose molecules are lined straight down in a chain, it makes up amylose and when the molecules branch out to the side, it forms amylopectin. The chains in amylose are easily broken when cooked and would be good for mashing, however, the high amylose content also gives it a "grainy" texture which I like to counteract with butter. The branched structure in amylopectin provides structural support so the potato can maintain it's form.

Russet potatoes (the kind you get in 5lb/10lb bags) contain more amylose. This is good when you want to break it apart as in mashed potatoes. It's also good for baked potatoes or potato wedges when you want a soft, tender texture. When used in soups or stews, it tends to fall apart. Imagine potato chunks that start disintegrating in curry or chowder.

Red/white/yellow potatoes are good for soups, potato salads, scalloped, or au gratin where it doesn't turn to mush after cooking. It's good when you want it to retain it's form.

In practice, you can use any potato for almost any purpose when it really comes down to it. It may not be best suited to that specific purpose, but can work if it's unavailable or significantly more expensive. For example, I actually like to use red potatoes for mashed potatoes because it doesn't become so grainy, it just means a little more work during food prep. Just keep this in mind the next time you make a dish with potatoes and want to get a certain characteristic.

One final note is to remove any sprouts on potatoes because they are toxic, but you would need to eat a large quantity to get sick. I would just be safe and get new potatoes if they start to sprout.


A quick way of mixing drinks is to use a small amount of hot water to dissolve the powder. Measure how much powder you need and then slowly add the minimum amount of the hottest water you can get to dissolve it all. Then add cold water to fill it up. Check it before it finishes and stop adding water when the flavor is right. If you want to add ice, stop when it's a little stronger than you want because the ice will melt and dilute the drink.

Long, scientific explaination:

Sugar is usually the primary ingredient in these drinks (lemonade, iced tea) so lets look at how it interacts with water. We know that boiling water will dissolve 2.7 times more sugar than ice cold water, but in practice it seems to be more effective than 3 times as fast. That's because we are looking only at the thermodynamics (the end state). We know that all the sugar in the mix will dissolve completely so we don't need to worry about the thermodynamics, but we want to know is the kinetics behind it (the rate that it gets to the end state). We don't care about the final capacity, but how fast it can dissolve.

In terms of kinetics, we know that the free energy (delta G) increases in a non-linear rate with hot vs cold water. Practically what this means is the energy in the fast moving water molecules are breaking apart the sugar molecules so you don't have to through stirring. For example, 25 grams of sugar added to a liter of water will dissolve in 30 minutes in ice water, 15 minutes at room temperature, and 4 minutes in hot tap water. If you take near-boiling water from a water heater, it's over 10 times quicker to dissolve than cold water. It's even faster if you stir it as you add the water.

Usually about 2 cups of hot water would be enough for a 5 gallon cooler. If you use boiling water, then the final product will be 2 degrees warmer after adding cold water. A few ice cubes can cancel this out. It really does make mixing drinks more consistent and quicker.

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