kimchi jjigae – kimchi stew

I was in the mood for Korean food, so I went to a Korean food specialist store and bought a packet of kimchi to make kimchi stew.

I am not a huge fan of kimchi. When I say this, I mean that I am not overly crazy about the kimchi that is usually served as a side dish at a Korean meal. I find them too sour and too one-dimensional in taste.

But when kimchi is made into a stew, I go absolutely mental over it. I have no idea if this is because different types of kimchi are used, or because cooking mellows the flavour of the kimchi, but I can eat bowls of this.

Kimchi stew is really easy to make. There are easy versions in which one simply adds the kimchi and kimchi juice to water, bring to a boil, add seasonings and one can enjoy kimchi soup.

For me, I prefer to spend a bit more time and effort to make an already flavourful soup base by boiling together seaweed, anchovies and dried shitake mushrooms for 20 minutes, and then straining the stock.

I think by doing this extra step, the stew tastes so much better.

I sliced the re-hydrated shitake mushrooms and set them aside. In addition, I completed my prep by cutting off the roots of Enoki mushrooms and cubing some toufu.

I also sliced some kimchi. It pays to buy a good kimchi for this.

Into the stock, I added the kimchi, mushrooms and sliced beef.

 I also added the kimchi juice and Korean chili powder, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, Korean sesame oil and finally, the toufu. You need to taste as you season in order to get a right balance of everything.

Once the stew has come to a boil, I added the spring onion, and turned off the heat.

And a comforting bowl of stew is ready to be eaten.

Hmmmmm. :)

Kimchi Jjigae (김치 찌개) | Kimchi Stew
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 500g kimchi, cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 300g beef (or pork), sliced
  3. 400g soft toufu, diced
  4. 6 pieces shitake mushroom (from making the stock), stems removed and sliced
  5. 1 packet Endoki mushrooms, roots removed
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 sprig spring onion, cut
  8. 2-3 teaspoons kimchi juice
  9. 2-4 teaspoons Korean chili powder
  10. 1 teaspoon Korean sesame oil
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the stock
  1. 15 anchovies, heads and guts removed
  2. 1 small handful of seaweed
  3. 6 pieces dried shitake mushrooms
  4. 1.5 litre of water (more if necessary)
Instructions
  1. Make stock by boiling anchovies, mushrooms and seaweed in the water for 20 minutes. Turn off hear and strain, reserving the stock and mushrooms. Slice mushrooms and set aside.
  2. Add kimchi, mushrooms and beef to stock. Add kimchi juice, Korean chili powder, salt, black pepper, minced garlic and sesame oil. Finally, add toufu and stir to mix.
  3. Once the stew comes to a boil, add spring onion. Turn off heat and serve hot, with rice, if desired.
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