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.

Korean Sweet Chili Noodles

Korean Sweet Chili Noodles by The Serving Wench

Gochuchang is a Korean red pepper paste and is a staple for Korean dishes.  I used this paste to make a sauce that my mother would use on almost everything.  She would eat it with vegetables or use it on her lettuce wraps, but her favorite was use it on her favorite dish, Bimbibap, which I hope to feature the recipe this summer.

This sauce has a kick and is not for the faint at heart.  At first it will be mellow and sweet, and out of nowhere the spice kicks in.  However, it’s so good it’s hard to stop.  You’ve been warned!

Prep Time: Cook Time: Level: Serves:
15 min. 20 min. Easy 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pkg.  of Udon noodles
  • 1 cucumber*
  • 1 pkg. of firm tofu**
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 TBS  Gochuchang (Korean Red Pepper Paste)
  • 2 TBS  water
  • 1 TBS of sesame oil (+ 1 tsp. for the tofu)
  • 1-2 tsp. of sugar
  • Sesame seeds*

*The cucumber and sesame seeds are garnishes and optional, but I find that the cool cucumber helps with the heat of the dish.

**I tried to make this dish vegetarian/vegan friendly, but you can always substitute stir fry beef strips, chicken or shrimp.  Just follow the same cooking instructions as tofu, but add just a splash of soy sauce, instead of salt & pepper to the pan when cooking the beef or chicken.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. 
  2. Slice up cucumbers in thin strips and set aside. 
  3. In a medium fry pan, heat 1 tsp. of sesame oil on medium heat.  Open tofu package and drain out the water.  Slice up tofu into little square or rectangle pieces.  Lightly season both sides with salt and pepper and brown in the pan on both sides.  Set aside
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together Gochuchang, sesame oil, water and sugar.  It should have a sunset red coloring and creamy consistency.
  5. Drain the noodles, and then toss in the sauce to completely coat the noodles.  Serve it up in bowls and top with tofu, cucumber and sesame seeds.