by Jeremy Meadows, former Cordata deli cook
Kimchi Stew expands your cooking repertoire with a new and unique flavor profile. The recipe comes together particularly easily using leftover shredded chicken, or leave out the meat (but not the flavorful marinade ingredients) for a vegetarian dish. Control the degree of heat by varying the amount of chili flake. Adapted from the kimchi jjigae recipe at norecipes.com.
There are two types of people: those who love kimchi and those who loathe it. I used to count myself as one of the latter category’s staunchest supporters. “How,” I thought, “could anyone enjoy something that looks like it was collected from a crime-scene and smells like a fisherman’s socks?” But those were the dark times, before my conversion.
My epiphany came in the form of a hot dog—a plain old bratwurst with ketchup and mustard. But where once sat a drab pile of sauerkraut, there, atop my dog, sat that blood-red concoction from the farthest east—pungent, spicy, and redolent of the ocean. I was immediately struck with that feeling you get when you see someone you know, but outside of their usual context, like running into your dentist at a party. “What are you doing here,” I thought. But I persevered. And I’m glad I did, because the flavor, to put it mildly, was sublime.
My road to kimchi nirvana, however, was not an easy one. Like coffee or alcohol, kimchi is an acquired taste. And just as the road to coffee and alcohol connoisseurship is often paved with sugar and littered with bottles of peach schnapps, it often takes a bit of flavor-masking to develop an appreciation for kimchi. So, don’t just dig right into the jar. At first, try it in a stir fry or on a hot dog. Or better yet, try this kimchi stew recipe, which tastes like a funkier version of American chili.
Still, you might be wondering, “Why not just stick with what I already know and love?” Well, there are kimchi’s legendary health benefits to consider. But more importantly, the taste (once acquired) is utterly delicious. So, hold your nose, open your mouth, and see the light.
- 6 ounces thinly sliced pork belly (or 2 cups cooked shredded chicken)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup tightly-packed kimchi
- ½ cup kimchi juice from kimchi jar (if there isn’t enough squeeze kimchi to extract more)
- 1½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon red miso
- 2 tablespoons Korean chili flake (or 1 tablespoon red pepper flake)
- 8 ounces soft tofu, cubed
- 2 thin-sliced green onions
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Marinate the pork belly (or chicken) with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and mirin while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Put a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Once hot, add pork belly mixture, (or if using chicken add a little oil then chicken mixture). Sauté for a few minutes, then add onions and kimchi. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until very fragrant.
- Add kimchi juice, water, miso, and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then taste. Add more chili flakes if desired.
- Turn heat to low, add tofu and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Just before serving stir in butter and garnish with green onions.