Kimchi Chicken


Angela found a summer job writing for a website called It’s a website of the young people, for the young people and by the young people – and in Angela’s case very young people.  It took me a couple of days of pressing and cajoling before she revealed the name of the website to me.  She didn’t want Peter and me to read what she had written because according to her “they were horrible.” I checked out the website today after she finally divulged what it was.

There are many well meaning, but often naïve “how to” advice on a wide variety of subjects, from how to style summer hair, how to wear matte lipstick to how to love yourself.  Angela’s “how to” articles, though, are somewhat different: How to find someone’s address through Facebook? Or How to understand your ethical beliefs? The one that cracked me up the most was how to remove waterproof makeup. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the title because Angela has never ever worn any waterproof makeup in her life.  When I clicked on the article, the first thing I saw was some sort of a chemical structure diagram. It turned out to be a mini chemistry lesson.  I imagine someone click on it and go “Huh?” But to give her credit, I can also easily imagine some teenage girl becoming interested in her chemistry class after reading this.  Sometimes peer learning, no matter how childish, can be more effective than parents’ constant nagging.

I remember my parents gave my brother and me a series of books called 100,000 Why when I was growing up in China. They were mostly about science and nature.  In an era of few books, we loved them.  But the knowledge that my friends and I most enthusiastically passed among ourselves were how to sew a piece of elastic band on the waist of an otherwise shapeless jacket, or how to nail a piece of old rubber tire on the heels to give yourself extra height.  My best trick was how to get a discount from the peasant when buying a chicken.  You pretend to check the chicken out and smear tiger balm on its eyes.  The chicken would twitch and behave strangely after that and the farmer would be afraid that it’s sick and would try to sell it to you for a much lower price.


My mischievous years in pigtails

I can imagine Angela having great fun writing a “how to” article with the chicken trick.  With her wicked imagination, her dark sense of humor and her penchant for the grotesque and the absurd, she would produce a fantastic fate for all involved,  but of course that would probably get her fired from her summer job.

When I was growing up in China, chicken was a luxury food and was reserved for the pregnant, the breastfeeding new mothers or the politically connected.  Nowadays, it is one of the most common and widely eaten food in both the US and in China.  So, it’s time to spice up the boring but versatile everyday staple.  Phew! I was wondering how I was going to get to Kimchi Chicken from where I was earlier.


Kimchi Chicken Stir-fry


8 oz. chicken breast, sliced into 1 x 1/4 inch pieces

6 stocks scallion, diagonally sliced

1/2 packed cup kimchi, juice squeezed out

1 tablespoon Asian cooking wine such as mirin

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Go-Chu-Jang (Korean sweet & spicy sauce)

2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon or more cooking oil

1/4 of a carrot, sliced diagonally



Marinate the chicken in cooking wine, soy sauce, Go-Chu-Jang and cornstarch for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan on high heat.  Add the chicken into the wok and reserve the marinade.

Stir fry the chicken for two minutes.  Add carrot and scallion and continue to stir until chicken is opaque and cooked through.  Pour the remaining marinade into the pan and stir until thickened, about 1 minute.  Turn off stove and mix in the Kimchi.


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