Fiery Kimchi Soup: A Taste Of Korea In A Bowl

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Kimchi jjigae, or kimchi stew, is a beloved Korean comfort food that’s both easy to make and bursting with flavor. This spicy and tangy stew features fermented kimchi, pork, tofu, and a variety of vegetables simmered in a rich and flavorful broth. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a cozy weekend dinner.

This recipe will guide you through the simple steps of creating a delicious kimchi jjigae at home. It’s easily customizable, so feel free to adjust the spice level or add your favorite protein and vegetables.

Spicy Korean Noodle Soup (quick & healthy)
Spicy Korean Noodle Soup (quick & healthy)

Ingredients:

(6 servings)

  • 500g kimchi, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Korean anchovy sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 250g (about 1/2 lb) pork belly, thinly sliced
  • 1 block firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup napa cabbage, sliced

  • Directions:

    1. Prep the Kimchi: Start by chopping your kimchi into bite-sized pieces. You can adjust the size depending on your preference. If your kimchi is very sour, you may want to rinse it briefly under cold water to remove some of the tang.

    2. Make the Base Flavor: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the flakes, as this can make the stew bitter.

    3. Add the Savory Ingredients: Next, add the minced garlic and grated ginger to the pot and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Pour in the fish sauce, soy sauce, and optional Korean anchovy sauce (for an extra umami kick).

    4. Simmer the Broth: Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors meld.

    5. Add the Protein and Vegetables: Once the broth has simmered, add the sliced pork belly and cubed tofu. Let them cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through. Then, add the shiitake mushrooms and napa cabbage. Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender-crisp.

    6. Finishing Touches: Finally, stir in the chopped kimchi and green onions. Let the stew simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes, just to heat through the kimchi.

    7. Serve and Enjoy! Turn off the heat and ladle the kimchi jjigae into serving bowls. You can garnish with additional chopped green onions, a drizzle of sesame oil, or a fried egg for a richer experience.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving):

    Calories: 350

  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 50mg
  • Sodium: 800mg (depending on the sodium content of your broth and kimchi)
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Protein: 20g

  • Note: This is just an estimate. The actual nutritional content will vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.

    Conclusion:

    Kimchi jjigae is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed year-round. It’s a great way to incorporate the health benefits of fermented kimchi and protein-rich pork into your diet. Plus, it’s easy to customize with different protein options like tofu, seafood, or chicken. So next time you’re craving a warm and comforting meal, give this delicious Korean kimchi stew a try!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I make kimchi jjigae vegetarian?

    Absolutely! Simply replace the pork belly with your favorite vegetarian protein like extra firm tofu, tempeh, or lentils. You can also add more vegetables like zucchini, carrots, or bell peppers.

    2. How spicy is kimchi jjigae?