I always assume when someone asks me if something I post is "spicy" or "hot" that they probably can't or don't take too much chili heat with their food. Because when we chili heads see red, we don't wonder if it's too hot. We just start salivating at the thought of how hot it must be. :)

That said, this kimchi jjigae is probably really hot to people who have to ask, and not that hot at all to people who truly, and I mean truly, love their food hot and spicy.

To make kimchi jjigae, you really should use ripe (as in sour) kimchi. You could make it with the fresh stuff, but that's not what this dish was invented for, which was to get rid of the kimchi that's been fermenting just a little too long when you've got huge earthenware jars full of fresher stuff still waiting to be eaten.

And because it's jjigae or stew, you don't want it to be all that soupy. Jjigae is meant to be thin enough to give you the occasional spoonful of intensely flavored and piping hot broth to eat with your rice, but not so soupy that you could drink it.


Today, I used:

- 2 cups ripe kimchi
- 1.5 cups sliced pork shoulder (but you can use other protein)
- half an onion, sliced into roughly 1/4" thick pieces
- 1 serrano, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 5 or 6 dried anchovies or shrimp (if you don't have dried shrimp, you could use a teaspoon of fish sauce or omit this component altogether)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1.5 cups water

- put it all in a small pot (if you don't have the little earthenware pot like I used, you can use a saucepan),

- turned the heat to medium high until it was actively boiling, uncovered, for a couple of minutes, at which point I gently stirred to evenly distribute all the ingredients

- then turned the heat down to medium, partially covered the pot, and let it continue bubbling for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the kimchi was soft and tender.

Depending on how much salt is in your kimchi and how the salt concentrated during the cooktime, you might want to adjust the seasoning about 5 minutes before it's done, adding salt in pinches, or fish sauce in dashes, to taste.

In a typical Korean meal, this kimchi jjigae would be served alongside a number of other bahnchahn (side dishes) to be eaten with the rice. But we just had some with steamed rice and called it lunch!

+alicia covill +Silje Bannister For you! :) Alicia, if you use a quick cooking protein like shrimp, I would add it in the last 10 minutes or so. Tofu can stand to go a bit longer.

How was lunch, peeps? :)

Kimchi Jjigae 09.20.12
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