30 April 2011

Waste not, want not

I've been hearing how "spicy" is the food trend of the year, and that is good news to me!  For some reason the more satisfying meals I've been eating these days are the ones that have a strong heat component, be it a Mexican salsa, an Italian vegetable soup, or a dish of kimchi.  And when it comes to heat, the Koreans know how to do it--stews served at the table still boiling hot, deep and richly red from the incomparable gochugaru chili powder.

So, with an eye on the latest food fashions (haha no, just kidding, I really just wanted to use up some leftovers and eat something spicy), I threw this stew together the other day.  It's based on kimchi jjigae, or kimchi stew, in which very old, fermented kimchi gets used up in a delicious way.  I didn’t have leftover kimchi, but I did have a whole lot of leftover kimchi juice and kkakdugi juice that I wanted to use somehow (remember how earlier I told you to save those juices?  Waste not, want not!).  This recipe is flexible—you can obviously use leftover cabbage kimchi instead of the fresh green cabbage, and you could even throw in old kkakdugi instead of the fresh mu (Korean daikon) if you wanted to.  Use your favorite meat, or whatever leftovers you have on hand.  This is a simple soup, it's basic home-cooking, and it should be a no-stress, easy-to-make meal.  And it’s SO tasty!

Spicy Kimchi Juice Jjigae
Makes 2-4 Servings

1 cup Korean daikon (mu, ), thinly sliced and cut into 1-2 –inch pieces
1 ½ cups green cabbage, cut into 1-2 –inch pieces
3 green onions, roughly cut into 1-2 –inch pieces (reserve a handful  of the green ends for garnish)
1 ½ cups kimchi/kkakdugi juice
½ cup water
¼ cup shredded roasted pork
1 ½ cups firm tofu, cut in ½-inch dice
1 tsp. sesame oil

Place all ingredients except for the tofu and oil in a pot and cover with lid.  Bring to a boil, then add the tofu and drizzle with the sesame oil. Cook 5 minutes more, until tofu is thoroughly heated through and cabbage has softened.

Garnish with reserved green onions and serve boiling hot.  Add a scoop of 4-grain rice to your bowl of stew and enjoy!


Anonymous said...

This looks like a great meal for our current wet and windy weather. Minimal fuss too. I like! For someone new to kimchi, do you have any tips on how to pick a good premade kimchi?

erica said...

Hi Genie! I think it's hard to go wrong with most pre-made kimchi from Korean companies. The most common kind is Napa cabbage kimchi.
You might be able to find it either as quarters of a head of cabbage or cut down into 2-inch pieces. Just make sure it has nice red coloring from the red chili. Some Korean supermarkets have samples to taste before buying. The kimchi will have a pungent, spicy-and-fermented smell. (An example of what NOT to buy: I was horrified one time to go into a local store and see American-made bottles of "kimchi" that looked more like sauerkraut--the cabbage was finely shredded, beige/gray in color, and had minced carrot mixed throughout--it did not look at all like kimchi (or at least the kind I'd want to use for this recipe!)

If you ever want to give homemade kimchi a try, it is actually quite fun to make! I've got a post on how to make it here:

PFx said...

Born to a mum who's awfully amazing in Korean cooking, I object this recipe. Hahaha. And that comes from me, who can't cook Korean at all. ;P

I would like to stand up and applaud you for giving a spicy food a go. Kimchi stew is pretty up there amongst the spiciest yummy stuff in the world.

Sweet Greetings

erica said...

Hi Pierre,
Oh, I am well aware this is not a thoroughly Korean recipe and actually debated for a while whether to post this or not, but I wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to take whatever leftovers one has on hand, and, by incorporating traditional Korean flavors, transform them into a delicious stew. ^_^

Thanks for stopping by and visiting Apricosa!

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