Kimchi Jjigae is a Korean stew made with meat, vegetables and kimchi, simmered in a broth seasoned with gochujang. This recipe is a great way to use up "old" kimchi that has begun to sour. Typically prepared communal in the hot-pot style, kimchi jjigae is served boiling hot with a side of steamed rice.
This IS a spicy dish; perfect for clearing out those fall sinus allergies or treating the inevitable fall cold or flu. The combination of sour and spicy, to me, is absolutely perfect for the sudden snap of cold weather we're finally getting here.
As the temperature is finally beginning to drop here in Alabama, and because I still have one jar left of my homemade kimchi, I decided to try my hand at jjigae. This recipe is probably not TRULY authentic, as I have incorporated a lot of traditional Japanese ingredients (such as miso & enoki mushrooms), and have also added noodles, which most kimchi jjigae recipes do not include.
However, the beauty of jjigae is that it is a frugal and hearty recipe with no set ingredients or measurements. If you have any enameled cast iron, this is the perfect recipe for it. For a completely vegetarian/vegan option, simply omit the beef and increase the amount of tofu!
Kimchi Jjigae (김치찌개)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup kimchi, chopped, reserving juices (김치)
1/2 lb lean beef (I used flat iron steak), cut into thin strips
2 tsp miso paste
1 large zucchini, sliced and quartered
3 heaping spoonfuls gochujang (고추장)
1/2 - 1 Tbsp gochugaru (red pepper powder)
1 pkg firm tofu, cut into large cubes
1/2 bunch dangmyeon (Korean bean thread noodles), soaked & trimmed
1 pkg enoki (榎茸) mushrooms, trimmed
1 bunch scallions, chopped
Steamed short-grain rice
Heat oil in a large, heavy pot (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and onions. Cook until the garlic has turned golden brown and the onion has begun to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add 6 cups of hot water along with the kimchi juices, cooking wine and miso paste. Stir well, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Add the zucchini, gochujang and gochugaru. Mix well, then add tofu & enoki mushrooms. Stir, taste soup and add more water if needed. Add dangmyeon noodles. Simmer for 15 minutes.