When I’m feeling sick, I always turn to Korean food, whether its a comforting bowl of soontofu, a hot cup of citron tea, or just kimchi and rice. I don’t know why, maybe its a combination of all the vitamin C in citron tea and all the garlic in kimchi and Korean food in general, but I always feel much better the next day.
This past week, both the Husband and I were feeling like we were coming down with colds, complete with coughs, sneezes and that “bleh” feeling. Luckily, we had all the ingredients for kimchi jigae, which made for a very comforting dinner, and yes, we are feeling better now.
Note: I like my Korean food spicy. If that doesn’t describe you, feel free to omit the chilies, red pepper powder, etc and just make it to taste.
For kimchi jigae, I use “shin” kimchi, or old kimchi that has been sitting around for a week or a week and a half. Its too fermented to eat as is, but is great in kimchi jigae. Plus, it adds kick to the soup. I buy the freshly made kimchi, not the jar version.
Any older than one or two weeks, I’d just throw away the kimchi, but that’s just me. Any people out there that let it go even longer?
Kimchi Jigae, Little Bear’s version
8 c hot water, divided
1 T vegetable oil
1 t dashi powder
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 Thai chilies, seeded and chopped
Approx 1 c old kimchi, chopped, reserving the kimchi “juice”
1 pkg firm tofu, cubed
1/2 lb meat, either beef or pork, cut into thin strips or cubes
1 large zucchini, sliced and cut into quarters
3 heaping spoonfuls of gochujang
Dash of red pepper powder
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, quickly add the garlic, onion and Thai chilies, stirring occasionally. Cook until the garlic has begun to turn golden brown and the onion has begun to soften.
Add the chopped kimchi and meat and cook several minutes until the meat has browned on all sides.
In a glass measuring cup, prepare 2 cups of hot water. Add the dashi powder, stirring well to completely dissolve the dashi. Pour the dashi-water into the pot, along with the kimchi juice and 4 more cups of hot water. Stir well.
Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, keeping it at a simmer.
Add the zucchini, gochujang paste, red pepper powder and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix well, making sure that the gochujang has dissolved and become thoroughly incorporated into the jigae.
At this point, taste the soup and add more hot water if necessary. Allow the kimchi jigae to simmer an additional 15 minutes so that the flavors can meld together. Serve with rice and Korean side dishes.