This is probably not the best time to be posting a recipe for a soup/stew, given that many parts of the country seem to be experiencing an autumn heat wave right now, but hey, this will come in handy for when the weather turns cooler, or for those folks who live in colder areas!
The first thing to know about this particular recipe for kimchi jigae is that it's very customizable. You can use or not use or substitute just about anything... except for the kimchi. That part is sort of necessary for it to be kimchi jigae. What I provide below is a super basic recipe for 1 serving that you can adjust to your own taste and requirements. The kimchi provides all the seasoning the stew requires, but you can get really fancy and use chicken broth instead of water, or add extra salt and pepper, etc.
If you're like me, you bought a huge tub of kimchi during your last trip to the Korean grocery store, because it's the most economical, and it's preserved so it'll last forever, right? Well, yes and no. It's like sticking things in the freezer. It might still be safe to eat 2 years later, but will it taste any good? The thing with kimchi is that it just keeps fermenting. And eventually, it gets to a point where it's too fermented, and it doesn't taste good on its own anymore (unless, of course, you are the sort who likes super-fermented kimchi). When it gets to that point, it's perfect for making kimchi jigae!
Simple Kimchi Jigae
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 strips of pork belly, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup packed kimchi, with some juice
- 1/4 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 1/2 -2 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup tofu, cubed
- sliced scallions
- Heat the sesame oil in a small pot.
- Add the pork belly and fry until the pieces start to get brown spots.
- Add the kimchi and garlic, then stir fry everything together for a few minutes.
- Pour in the water, enough to cover by about 1/2 inch.
- Add the tofu and bring the soup to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Garnish with the scallions and serve hot.