Zen's Kimchi Jjigae
After tasting other people’s Kimchi Chigaes and introducing some of my more western preferences, here’s my latest recipe for Kimchi Chigae. Like my chili recipe, it’s constantly evolving.
1/2 lbs. Bacon or Samgyeopsal (fresh pork belly), thick sliced, salted or unsalted
1 Onion, sliced
1 Tbsp. Ginger, minced
Handful of Garlic Cloves, smashed and whole
1/2 lbs. Kimchi, preferrably old
2 Tsp. Sugar
Salt to taste (depending if you have salted or unsalted bacon)
Fresh cracked Black Pepper, lots of it
Rice Vinegar (optional)
1/2 bottle of Soju (Korean traditional liquor)
NOTE: You can also substitute a can of tuna for the pork. Not only is it healthy, it’s a surprisingly good tasting alternative. Something magical happens with Chamchi (Tuna) Kimchi Jjigae. It’s sweeter and has good depth.
1. Brown the Bacon in a hot wok. When it is brown, move it to the side.
2. Brown the Onions in the bacon grease.
3. Add the Ginger, Kimchi, and Garlic. Stir fry for a while.
4. Fill the wok with water until it’s covered the ingredients. Boil for five minutes. You will end up with a rich red broth.
5. Add the Sugar and Black Pepper and taste. Adjust the Sugar, Vinegar and Salt until a nice balance of salty, sweet, and sour is achieved. The Kimchi should give it enough sourness, but vinegar should be at the ready just in case.
6. Throw in 1/2 bottle of Soju to give it that extra kick. Drink the rest with due caution.
7. Let it boil for a few more minutes. Serve it hot or boiling (if possible) with steamed rice to balance the strong flavor of the stew.