To be fair, smelly would be a matter of perception. Some of us will enjoy the strong, pungent smell and taste of the fermented cabbage that is the popular Korean dish of kimchi Well in my case, it was an acquired taste. I hated it too the first time I had kimchi. The first time I had kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) I wasn’t impressed and in fact, didn’t quite enjoy it.
But look where I am now, whipping up my own kimchi jjigae at home, and being terribly anti-social while at it!
I love having kimchi jjigae at Korean restaurants. Its one of those dishes I always have to order, because I love the spicy, sour, pungent smell and taste of the stew. One day however, I got bitten by the bug to experiment making it at home. I tried it a while ago without too much success but this time, I hoped it would succeed. And it did!
Do you enjoy this dish too?
I looked up a few recipes online and the basic tenet is the same. The primary ingredient that you need is kimchi. Whatever else goes into your soup is up to you!
What you need (feeds 2):
- 250g Kimchi – well fermented
- Garlic smashed – as you like it. I put lots
- Soy sauce
- Gochujang or Korean red pepper paste if you want something spicy
- Meat, tofu, scallions/spring onions, onions, glass noodles etc to your preference
- In a pot, heat up a little oil and fry the smashed garlic until fragrant, do not brown.
- Add slices of meat and stir fry briefly
- Add kimchi. I just put in the whole tub, kimchi, liquid and all
- Add a little water to make it a stew or soup, depending on your preference and bring to a boil then turn fire down to simmer
- Add a little soy sauce. If your kimchi isn’t very fermented and if you want it more spicy, you can add a tablespoon of gochujang and some chilli flakes. I just go with the gochujang because it makes the flavour more robust.
- Simmer until meat is cooked then serve hot with rice.
There is no right or wrong way to do it, I realised from reading the recipes. It just depends on how you want it to taste and what you like. So you can make it as light as you want or as robust as you want, as thick as you want, or as watery as you want. It all boils down to taste.
I like to make a pot of it and then leave the remainder aside for the next day. It tastes stronger then, and I water it down, add some noodles to it, and turn it into a kimchi noodle soup. Easy peasy!
I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to order this outside anymore, now that I know how quick and easy it is to cook it at home
Still, if I do go for a Korean meal, you can bet I’ll be ordering it anyway. Habits die hard
Do you like eating kimchi or kimchi jjigae?
I do, as you well know now, and thanks to the amount of garlic I chuck in mine, its such an anti-social dish so make sure you have this with friends, or rather, people who don’t mind the pungent smells
Scrumptious Saturday: One day of the week where I indulge in my other love – Food! It will feature my cooking experiments or eating and travel adventures. Yes, I will travel for good food.