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Dinner Tonight: Kimchi Jigae (Kimchi Stew)

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.

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