If I was stranded on an island and was allowed only one kind of meal for the rest of my life, I would choose my mom’s kimchee jjigae (김치 찌개). Kimchee jjigae, aka kimchee (kimchi) stew, is an incredibly easy dish to make, but it is also an incredibly difficult dish to make ‘right.’ This is my rendition of my mom’s kimchee jjigae…I got to admit, it isn’t as good as hers, but it comes darn close!
Things You Will Need:
kimchee (very fermented!!)
sliced spam (you can substitute this with pork)
pinch of hon dashi
1/2 spoonful of sugar
1 1/2 cup water
sliced green onion for garnish
As you can see from above, you don’t need that many ingredients to make this stew. This stew is meant for you to enjoy and appreciate the flavor of kimchee, so make certain to get yourself some good fermented kimchee. I usually buy mine at a Korean grocery store, and just keep it in the fridge for a good 2-3 weeks and let it ferment. If the kimchee is too fresh, I can bet that you will end up with a flavorless and bland stew.
Well fermented kimchee will leave your tongue with a somewhat soury taste. It will also appear slightly more opaque than fresh kimchee.
What to Do:
1. I like to cook my stew in a traditional Korean stone pot, but feel free to use a regular ol’ pot at home. Drizzle a little oil in the pot over medium heat.
2. Get a large spoonful of kimchee and put it in the hot pot.
Note: If you are using pork, we would recommend cooking that first before the saute of kimchi.
4. After the five minutes, you will notice your kimchee getting dry, and the oil gone. At this time, get a large spoon/ladle, and get about 3 spoonfuls of kimchee sauce from your kimchee container and pour it into the pot. Continue to saute for another 3-5 minutes.
6. Look for the texture of the kimchee. I personally like my kimchee to be buttery soft so that it practically falls apart and melts in my mouth. The kimchee should begin to look translucent.and wilted..this is what you want:
11. Garnish with the green onions and you are DONE. Enjoy!!!! -H