The saltiness and lovely color of the dish is courtesty of soy sauce. The sweetness is provided by sugar and rice wine. The subtle heat comes from garlic and chilies.
Subtle heat? Aren’t all Korean dishes super spicy? No, not all of them. And since this is home cooking, for non-Koreans who aren’t used to the level of spiciness that Koreans consider ordinary, the heat can be adjusted.
The variety of chilies you use affects the level of heat. We used finger chilies here which are milder and two pieces were just right to provide a subtle heat.
Start by lightly browning your potatoes in a little oil. Add the carrot pieces and continue frying for another minute.
Pour in the sauce, add the chilies, cover the pan loosely and cook until both the potatoes and carrots are cooked through but not mushy.
Add chunks of onion, toss and cook until the onion softens a bit and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Turn off the heat, add sesame seed oil, chili flakes and sesame seeds. Toss and your gamja jorim is ready to serve. Alternatively, scoop out, transfer to a shallow bowl and leave to allow the flavors to develop so more, and serve at room temperature.
Braised baby potatoes (gamja jorim)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine (mirin was used here)
- ½ teaspoon grated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 20 baby potatoes rinsed, scrubbed and cut into halves
- 1 medium carrot peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
- 2 chilies sliced into rings
- 1 onion peeled and cut into one-inch chunks
- Make the sauce by stirring all the ingredients together with half a cup of water.
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan or wok.
- Spread the baby potatoes in the hot oil and cook over high heat, stirring often, until the edges are just starting to brown.
- Add the carrot cubes and continue cooking for a minute.
- Pour in the sauce.
- Add the chilies.
- Cover the pan loosely and cook until the baby potatoes are soft but not mushy and the sauce has reduced to a couple of tablespoonfuls.
- Throw in the onion. Cook, tossing, until the onion pieces are just starting to turn translucent and the sauce has reduced to sticky syrup-like consistency.
- Off the heat, drizzle in the sesame seed oil, sprinkle in the toasted sesame seeds and chili flakes, and toss a few more times.
- Transfer the braised baby potatoes to a bowl (or small bowls) and sprinkle with scallions.
- Serve your braised baby potatoes hot or at room temperature.