I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by. Here I've been in Taiwan for 6 weeks now, and my time is rapidly coming to a close. I can say without reservation that I am exactly where I should be at exactly the right time. It feels really, really good to be so settled-feeling, so happy. I just don't want it to end, though, and I can't say how sad I am to be leaving a place that has so quickly become home for me.
Having wrapped up my stint as a teacher here, I now have my long-awaited Korea trip before me. In just a few days, I will be reveling in the motherland of one of my favorite cuisines, hopefully getting some samgyetang, gamjatang, and patbingsu in somewhere along the way!
In honor of this upcoming trip, I want to post a recipe for the classic Korean dish kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew). This jjigae is incredibly easy to whip up...and the flavors are rich and exciting. Moreover (and this is what earns it high marks in my book), it is extremely healthy, low-fat with great fiber and protein levels from all that yummy cabbage kimchi and tofu. I used a nice lean pork sirloin tip roast, but pork belly (samgyeopsal) would be a tasty, richer alternative.
Kimchi jjigae (Kimchi Stew) 김치찌개,
Serves 3-4, Adapted from Maangchi
4 cups chopped kimchi
2/3 lb. (300g) pork meat, diced
½ medium white onion, sliced
2-3 green onions, sliced on the bias
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 Tbs. hot pepper paste (gochujang)
~2 cups water
14 oz. (400g) tofu
1 Tbs. sesame oil
Place kimchi, pork, both types of onion, sugar, pepper flakes, and pepper paste in a medium pot. Add more water as needed to submerge all ingredients and stir to combine.
Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook at a lively simmer for 20 minutes. Cut the tofu into large bite-size chunks add to the jjigae; continue cooking for 5 minutes more until tofu has heated through. Check seasoning and add salt to taste, then drizzle with sesame oil. Serve with steamed rice.