Like Blake, my first experience with kimchi came in a piping hot bowl of soup that our friend Duncan made after returning from Korea. I’ve been addicted for a few years now, but for some reason have never tried to make the soup that first got me hooked. I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the recipe I did find, but it is delicious. Even the fianc—e, who has no particular love for the fermented cabbage, had to admit she loved it. The addition of the sugar helps calm this spicy stew, making it a little less aggressive and more rounded.
Bacon can surely be substituted for the fresh pork belly, though you’ll want to adjust the seasoning because of the added salt. But really, it’s more fun to buy a big hunk of uncured belly. I found mine at the local Asian supermarket for about 2 dollars a pound. So even though they wouldn’t let me get anything less than a pound and a half, I got out for under 4 bucks. I also got to practice removing pig skin with a large knife, which is a good time if I ever knew one.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a co-founder of The Paupered Chef, a blog dedicated to saving time and money while enjoying food in every way possible. He sells wine for a living and lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Dinner Tonight: Zen’s Kimchi Jjigae
About This Recipe
- 1/2 pound pork belly, skin removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/2 pound kimchi, chopped
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 6 cups water
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
Place a large pot over medium high heat. When nice and hot, dump in the pork belly and brown quickly on all sides. Remove the pork, and then add the onions. There should be enough fat in the pan to cook the onions, if not add a little peanut oil. Cook the onion slices until they begin to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
Add the ginger, garlic, kimchi, and scallions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes or until very fragrant.
Pour in the 6 cups of water and return the pork to the pot. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes.
Add the sugar and black pepper and stir. Season with salt if needed.
Serve piping hot with some white rice.