Crafting a Warm Embrace with Korean Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jigae)

Finding Comfort in the Cold: Your Guide to Kimchi Jigae

Immerse yourself in the heartwarming magic of a bubbling pot brimming with the comforting embrace of Korean Kimchi Stew, the beloved Kimchi Jigae. Let the fragrant steam and vibrant colors ignite a symphony of emotions, as each spoonful takes you on a culinary journey filled with nostalgia, comfort, and a sense of belonging. Surrender to the soul-stirring power of Kimchi Jigae and savor the flavors that evoke memories of shared meals, laughter, and the joy of discovering a taste that truly captures the essence of Korean cuisine.

Tweaking the Heat: Tailoring the Stew to Your Palate

Kimchi Jigae, despite its fiery facade, typically leans towards the mild side on the spiciness scale. The heat in this dish, derived mainly from Korean chili flakes, is usually subtler compared to other more potent spices.

Still, this dish invites adaptation—feel free to adjust the spice content to match your taste buds. If you’re the type to enjoy a smattering of heat on your morning eggs, this stew’s spice level should be right up your alley. However, if your tolerance is lower, consider reducing the amount of chili flakes.

The process of making Kimchi Jigae is straightforward, especially if you opt to simplify your preparation with a store-bought broth. Some traditional recipes may insist on a homemade broth, but substituting with a good quality store-bought chicken, fish, or beef stock can expedite the cooking process. Let’s dive into the details.

Ingredients for a Savory Kimchi Jigae

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 8 ounces pork belly or shoulder (225g), sliced thin
  • 1 pound of ripe kimchi (450g), chopped, juices included
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Korean chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (700 ml, alternatively use fish or beef stock)
  • 8 oz. firm tofu (225g), sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped

The Art of Making Kimchi Jigae

  1. Start by heating the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Introduce the onion, garlic, and pork to the pot, stirring frequently until the pork browns lightly and the onions start to wilt.
  2. Bring in the kimchi for a 2-minute fry-up. Then add the salt, sugar, chili flakes, gochujang, and your chosen broth. Give it a good stir, bring the mixture to a simmer, and cover the pot for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the cover, gently place the tofu slices on top, and put the lid back on for another 10-minute simmer. In the final stage, remove the cover, blend in the sesame oil, and scatter the chopped scallion as garnish. Serve this savory stew straight from the stove, ideally with some freshly-steamed rice!

Discover the Wonders of Kimchi Jigae

Kimchi Jigae is a shining example of the depth and diversity of Korean food culture—it’s full-flavored, warming, and adaptable to different spice preferences.

Moreover, the healthful properties of kimchi, which is fermented and loaded with beneficial probiotics, enhances the nutritional value of this comfort food. Its recipe versatility allows for protein alternations, making it a robust addition to your kitchen adventures. So when winter’s chill takes hold, warm up with a comforting bowl of Kimchi Jigae.

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