Spicy Kimchi Jigae Stew

Kimchi Jigae, aka Kimchi Stew, is one of my all-time favourite comfort foods when it’s cold outside. I love going to Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu in Toronto for their big steaming bowls of stew, and this recipe is my at-home take on their kimchi stew with ingredients readily available at my local grocery store. If you’re looking for a more traditional recipe, Maangchi is my go-to for guidance and recipes on all things authentically Korean, and she has a great Kimchi Jigae recipe that explains how to make an authentic anchovy stock. Since I don’t have easy access to a lot of those ingredients, I developed this recipe for when I’m craving those Korean flavours but don’t want to make the trek to Koreatown.

I like to think of kimchi, gochujang, and gochugaru as the Korean cooking holy trinity, and they all play a big role in this stew. I’ve just discovered Korean food within the past few years, and I love playing around with these flavours (like in my Kimchi Fried Rice and Spicy Pork & Udon Stir Fry) because they provide a little heat and complexity to everything they touch. Kimchi is readily available at most grocery stores, but gochujang and gochugaru usually require a special trip to the Korean grocery store. Luckily, a little goes a long way and you can keep them both unhand in your pantry without having to restock often. This recipe is great for using up old kimchi (the funkier, the better!) and can be adjusted to your tastes – for example, if you like it spicier, add more gochujang. If you’re vegetarian, sub in mushrooms for the meat and veggie broth (or water) for the broth.

Be sure to serve this dish with a side of rice – it helps balance out the spice!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons gochugaru
  • 2 /12 cups kimchi, densely packed
  • 500g pork or beef, thinly sliced (pork belly or pork shoulder work best, but in a pinch I’ve used pork tenderloin and pork chops)
  • 6 cups water, chicken stock, vegetable stock, or a combination
  • 1/4 cup kimchi brine
  • 1 package silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil on medium-high heat until shimmering. Add in garlic and gochugaru mixing until gochugaru has combined with oil.
  2. Add in kimchi and meat, sautéing for a 3-4 minutes, until kimchi has slightly cooked down.
  3. Add in water and kimchi brine, stirring to combine, and let simmer for 30 minutes with lid partially covering the pot, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add in silken tofu and sesame oil, loosely breaking up the large chunks, and let simmer for an additional 5 minutes. At this time you can try the stew and season it with salt to your taste.
  5. Make 4 divets within the stew, and crack eggs directly into them. Cover pot and let simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes, depending on how firm you like your eggs.
  6. Ladle stew into bowls immediately, garnish with green onions and serve with a side of rice.

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