Kimchi Chigae (Kimchi Stew)

Photo by The Serving Wench

Photo by The Serving Wench

After watching Despicable Me 2 (watch it!), I wanted, ever so badly, to have minions.  I mean, who wouldn’t really?  If I had minions to help me in all aspects of my life, then I could sit around watching episodes of Archer and plot what dishes I could conjure up.  Well…I might do that already.  Okay honestly, I probably would be playing with my minions and showing them off at work.  So, in essence it would probably be counterproductive.  I still feel like Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 telling Pepper Potts, “I want one.”

With life’s many demands, I finally got to have a weekend off and get in the kitchen.  To those of you that have time to be in the kitchen everyday or at least three times a week, I envy you wholeheartedly.  This dish is quick and truly simple to make.  Which is helpful in my crazy schedule.  This recipe calls for pork belly, but bacon will do.  I love spiciness!  So you can make this as spicy as you want by adding more kimchi juice as you prefer.

I’ll be honest, I don’t much about the history of kimchi but I can describe it in three words: smelly, delicious and can go with anything!  Okay that last part wasn’t a word ,than let’s say a phrase, but seriously I could put kimchi on ANYTHING?  Kimchi on burger, kimchi on sandwiches, kimchi on pizza…  So, I’m sure you get the idea.  I heart kimchi.  If you haven’t tried it, please do.  It may not be for everyone, but you might be just missing out.

*You can make this dish vegetarian by leaving out the meat altogether*

Prep Time: Cooking Time: Difficulty: Servings:
10 min 20 min Easy 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-8 oz. pork belly or bacon
  • 1-2 C   chopped kimchi
  • 1 tsp   red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBS  red pepper paste (gochuchang)
  • 1          white onion
  • 2          green onion stalks
  • 2 TBS  minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Half a package of tofu
  • ¼ C     kimchi juice
  • 2 C      water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice up the onions, cut the green onions in one-inch length and cut up tofu in squares.
  2. In a pot, add in pork belly, garlic and white onions on medium-high heat.  Cook until pork is halfway done.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except the green onions and salt and pepper).  Bring to a boil on high (For approximately 10 min).
  4. Reduce heat to medium heat; add in green onions and salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Cook for at least five to ten minutes.
  6. Serve with a side of rice or over rice.

Beef Bulgolgi (Korean BBQ)

Photo taken by Nicole Ramos

I lived in Korea, on and off, since I was nine years old.  It was my mother that I learned the art of cooking and I found very early on that I had a passion for food.  In fact, my mom would argue I wasn’t really sick if I was still hungry, haha.  If I didn’t want to eat, she worried.  My mom was the kind of mom that wouldn’t let me out of the house without breakfast, made my lunches and always had a hot dinner ready every night.  I would watch my mom day in and day out put so much energy and care into what made.  To her, she was preparing meals for her family, to me it was an experience, from preparing the ingredients to creating a meal.  I never realized until I was older that food was such an important part of my Korean culture.  It brought the family together, neighbors bonded preparing for the day and even in this fast paced society, going out to eat is central to socialization.

Since then, I have prepared some of the dishes my mom taught me to my friends.  I have decided to share my mothers recipes with you.  If you’ve never tried Korean cuisine, I definitely recommend it and this dish should be the first you should try.

Serves:  4                              Level:     Easy                                        

 Cook Time:          5-10 mins.                     Marinate:  1hr.-overnight (in fridge)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb  sirloin or rib-eye beef (thinly sliced)
  • 1  lg. onion
  • 4  green onions (cut in long strips)
  •  toasted sesame seeds (garnish)
  • shredded carrots (optional)
  • broccoli (optional)

Some people add vegetables like carrots and/or broccoli to their bulgolgi.  My mother never did this and neither do I, but I included it as an option.  I sometimes prepare a side of steamed vegetables, however Korean dishes/meals are served with a wide variety of side dishes (many vegetables).  Kimchi, being a staple at all tables and meals, I recommend trying if you’re not afraid of spicy!

Bulgolgi Marinade:

  • 2 TBS  garlic (minced)
  • 5 TBS  soy sauce
  • 3 TBS  sugar
  • 1 TBS  sesame oil
  • 1 TBS  Kirin sauce or rice wine
  • 1 lg      Nashi pear (Korean pear) *optional
  • ½ tsp   black pepper
  • ½ tsp  ground ginger

(*The Korean pear may not always be in season and can be large, so I recommend only using half and chill the other half, slice it up and enjoy.  Sweet like pears we know here in the States, but slightly different flavor.)

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients for the marinade together.  The marinade should not taste salty, but slightly sweet with a hint of the soy sauce flavor.   Add in beef, sliced onions & green onions. 
  2. Marinade for 1 hour (bare minimum 30 min.), like all marinades, the longer you do the better the flavor soaks in.
  3. Heat a large skillet or frying pan on medium-high heat.  Add the beef marinade mixture and stir fry until beef is cooked thoroughly.  .
  4. Be careful not to over cook the meat, as it will get tough.  Add toasted sesame seeds for garnish.

Can be served with a side of rice, or used in a lettuce wrap with Korean red pepper paste (gojuchang). 

**NOTE:  You find all of these ingredients at Asian specialty markets.  Although it may seem expensive at first to stock up.  These ingredients will last many dishes and many meals to come. **