Dakdoritang is hot, spicy, and bold like my mother, but also sweet (from the gochujang and carrots). Love is not an ingredient here according to the FDA, but time is. It's crazy to me that in just 40 minutes, you can have a stew as penetrating with flavor as this one. After the fiery-red chicken, the potatoes are probably the best part, and the most comforting to eat. They almost fall apart in the broth and make it even thicker. Lastly, it's important to serve with fresh white rice—soft, fluffy relief from the heat—because is there anything better than starch on starch in the winter? —Eric Kim
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the chicken, poaching for 5 minutes. It may not come up to a boil again (that’s fine!). Drain and rinse with cold sink water. Add back to the empty pot.
In a small bowl, stir together the water, soy sauce, red pepper powder, gochujang, brown sugar, and garlic, and add to pot with the chicken. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and cook at a rolling simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the onion, potato, carrot, and optional jalapeño and continue simmering for 20 more minutes, or until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Stir in the sesame oil.
Garnish with scallions and serve with white rice.
Instant Pot variation: Add all of the ingredients (using only 1/2 cup water, not the full 1 1/3 cups), save for the sesame oil, scallions, and white rice. Pressure-cook on High for 30 minutes, then let release naturally for about 10 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil and garnish with scallions. Serve with white rice.
Eric Kim is a Senior Editor at Food52, where his solo dining column, Table for One, runs Friday mornings. Formerly the Digital Manager at Food Network, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.