Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

kimchistew10 22 20121 06 06AM
The first time I tasted the flavor of cooked kimchi and pork together was at my favorite (hole in the wall) Korean restaurant – almost 20 years ago (they are now closed).  The dish was appropriately named Kimchi Pork, which was cooked in thickened spicy gravy – I craved this combination and ate it at least once a week, for 10 years – until they closed.

Since then, I have been searching for this dish and discovered that other Korean restaurants don’t have a dish called “kimchi pork” on their menu.  This was baffling to me… How can something so simple, be so unavailable?

Out of curiosity I order a bowl of kimchi jjigae – the description read; pork, kimchi and tofu. When I took my first bite… I realized that this is my beloved kimchi pork in the form of a soup/stew.  How could I have missed out on this gem all these years?
KoreanSpring8 2 201211 42 46AM
It was time to do some research and my first stop was to Hyosun Ro’s blog KoreanBapsang.  Once I tried her recipe, I stopped my search.  I found exactly what I was looking for – A simple, easy, satisfying – one pot meal.
Tips from Hyosun:

  • Older (overripe) kimchi will give better flavor
  • Use the rice water from the 3rd rinse or use anchovy broth (about 7 or 8 medium dry anchovies and 1 3-inch square dried kelp boiled in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes).
  • If you don’t have a half cup of kimchi juice available, increase the water to 2 ½ cups.
  • use pork belly or other pork meat with some fat. 

My notes to you…

  • If you don’t have overripe kimchi – WAIT – the broth will taste flat, the older the better.
  • If you don’t have enough kimchi juice – add extra Korean red pepper.
  • If you have a flat flavored broth – add a splash or two of Korean soup soy sauce. Take a peek at Lindsey’s Shin Noodle for a description of Korean Soup Soy Sauce.
  • I have my green onions (scallions) cut small (in the pix) only because I had pre-cut the bunch for another dish – I would usually cut them into 2 inch lengths.
  • Add more pork if you want it to be meatier
  • Maangchi is the queen of u-tube Korean cooking and she adds hot pepper paste instead of red pepper flakes.  This small difference will make a spicier and more full flavored broth.
  • Optional add – in’s – sliced mushrooms and zucchini (thats what they added in the restaurant)

Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
adapted from Hyosun Ro
This recipe makes enough for two

¼         pound     pork, cut into small pieces
1          tsp.         garlic, minced
½         tsp.         ginger, minced
1          Tbsp.      Korean red pepper flakes
2          cups        old kimchi
½         cup          kimchi juice
2          cups         rice water (2 ½ if not using kimchi juice)
                            Soft “silken”tofu – ½ block or 1 tube “Korean”
2          stalks       green onions, sliced in 2” legnths
Toss pork with minced ginger, garlic and red pepper.Drain kimchi (save juice) and cut into bite sized pieces.
ingredients10 22 201212 47 20AM
Heat a medium sauce pot over med-high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. oil and brown pork; add kimchi and cook for about 10 minutes or until pork and kimchi are tender.
When the kimchi and pork are tender; add kimchi juice and water; bring to a boil and let cook for another 10 min. **If you are adding zucchini and mushrooms; add it when you are adding the kimchi juice and water.
Add tofu and the green onions on top.  Allow the tofu to cook in the broth for about 3 – 5 min. heat the tofu.
Kimchi Jjigae
kimchistew10 22 20121 06 06AM

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