Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
I was fortunate enough this past Thanksgiving to receive a container of homemade cabbage and radish kimchi from one of my mom’s friends in Atlanta. Although this meant making the 11 hour drive back to DC with a bucket of kimchi in the back seat, it was well worth it. Young’s kimchi was pungent with chili and garlic and was perhaps the best kimchi I have had the pleasure of eating. This includes all of the kimchi I sampled last year while in Seoul. I’m still working on getting her secret recipe, but until then I will share one of my favorite recipes for using kimchi.
Whenever I have an abundance of kimchi I like to make kimchi Jjigae or stew. This works particularly well with kimchi that you have had in your fridge for a while. The more pungent and sour it is, the better.
Korean Kimchi Jjigae
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
1 pound thinly sliced pork belly (this also works well with thinly sliced beef sirloin)
2 tablespoons Korean chili paste
4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cups cabbage kimchi coarsely chopped – liquid reserved
2 cups chicken broth
1 pound tofu chopped into cubes
5 green onions thinly sliced
- Toss meat with chili paste and garlic and let rest for 30 minutes so some of the flavors of the paste can infuse into the meat.
- Heat the sesame oil in a pan over medium-high heat until hot and add pork and cook for a few minutes until the meat is browned. Throw in the onions and briefly fry until the onions have softened a bit, the intent here is not to brown the onions but to let them soften a bit.
- Add the kimchi, including all the liquid to the pan and stir in chicken broth. Let this mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the tofu and let the mixture simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes to insure that the flavor from the kimchi has permeated the tofu. Taste at this point for salt and pepper. I find that it rarely needs additional salt as the kimchi tends to have enough salt.
- Remove from heat and garnish with sliced green onions.