28 July 2009

kimchi jjigae

Kimchi jjigae is the ultimate comfort food. It's richly flavorful, easy to make, can be made with all sorts of ingredients (initially, when looking into making it, I was amazed at the variety of recipes) as long as you have kimchi. For this jjigae — which tasted better on the second day and even better on the third — I sauteed 3 anchovies in some oil (from the jar, since I was finishing them off), added a good amount of kimchi (my very successful gobō-carrot-cabbage-dried shrip attempt), sautéed that and then added water, some kombu (kombu stock could have replaced water/kombu), cubes of tofu and some wonderful fresh shiitake that I picked up at my CSA. (Had I had pork belly on hand, I'd have added it before the kimchi.) I let that stew very slowly while I made rice. Towards the end I added coarsely chopped snap peas.

The snap peas stayed bright, green and crunchy. The anchovies disappeared — as they should — for that je ne sais quoi that anchovies add to everything (same effect that dried baby shrimp has on kimchi). Fresh (local!) shiitake are a real treat and they and the cubes of tofu take on the kimchi's tang (and this is best made with old kimchi). Very very satisfying, and the acidity of the kimchi us refreshing despite the heat from the chili flakes.

Garnish with dulse for the ultimate effect.

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