Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kimchi Chigae (Stew) - 김치 찌개

What is kimchi
It's a fermented napa cabbage made with sea salt, korean red chili peppers, brined shrimp or anchovy and sometimes with raw oysters.  A traditional side dish called panchan, it's an essential side dish koreans eat at every meal.

I've made kimchi chigae several times in different variations, but I like this one the best.
Enjoy!  ^ ^

Kimchi Chigae
Serves 4

1 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 - 2 c. kimchi
1/4 lb. pork tenderloin

6-8 slices of firm tofu
salt to taste

1.  In a small pot, cook the sliced pork tenderloin over medium heat with a dash of olive oil (optional).  Cook halfway until its lightly pink and brown.
For a vegetarian stew you can omit the pork and skip to step 2.  To make good kimchi stew you need the right fermented kimchi, you can tell by the smell, check for a pickled mild sour smell.  You can purchase kimchi at a korean market or your local asian market.

2.  Add the 1 1/2 - 2 c. kimchi, even better with a little bit of the kimchi juice.  Cook for 6-10 minutes.  The key to good kimchi stew (chigae) is the kimchi and the longer it's cooked.  After it's been cooked 6-10 minutes they should look somewhat translucent. 

3.  In high-medium heat gradually add the 1 1/2 c. water, not all at once so the flavors can meld together slowly.  Stirring occasionally, cook for 5 minutes.  Add salt if neccessary, salt to taste.  I added a pinch of salt since the kimchi already has salt.
4.  Add the sliced tofu on top, pour some of the soup over the tofu.  Cook for an additional 6-8 minutes.   Serve with steam rice! 

Enjoy! (:


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