Maybe it's the falling leaves, or just the slight chill in the air, but I was in need of something restorative and filling. During such times, my mind drifts towards the warming powers of kimchi, and of the Korean stew kimchi jigae. Even though I've written about a fine version of the recipe before, I was coerced into trying this recipe by Marc Matsumoto of the food blog No Recipes. "In the same way that every family has their own secret family recipe for kimchi," he writes, "the recipes for Kimchi Jigae vary widely by household." If the recipe differs so widely, why can't I write about another version?
To be sure, while both of these recipes feature kimchi, pork, and tofu, the results of this batch are far different. This one is heartier, more robust, and ultimately more comforting. Thanks goes to three "secret" ingredients, which include some of the liquid from the jar of kimchi, soy-bean paste (dengjang, or white miso if you can't find it), and butter, which gets slipped in at the very end to help add a luxuriously mouthfeel to each bite.
I wish I could have found a way to keep the silken tofu from breaking up, but ultimately this soup was everything I needed.
- 1/3 pound pork belly, sliced thinly
- 1/2 small onion, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup kimchi liquid
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1 tablespoons shaoxing wine (or mirin)
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 2 teaspoons dengjang (or white miso)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean dried chili flakes), optional
- 8 ounces silken tofu, sliced into cubes
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
Add pork belly to cold large dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Once fat starts to render off pork belly, add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add kimchi and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kimchi liquid, water, dried ginger, shaoxing wine, gochujang, dengjang, and soy sauce. Stir well, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat to low, and simmer. Add gochugaru (if using) and tofu. Cook for 20 minutes, adjusting to keep to maintain simmer.
Add scallions and butter. Stir soup, being careful not to break up tofu. Serve immediately with white rice.