How to make Kimchi jigae 김치 찌개

September 26, 2010

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Project Food Blog, Challenge #2.The classic. Ready to tackle a classic dish from another culture? Pick an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with. You should include how you arrived at this decision in your post. Do your research then try to pull off successfully creating this challenge. Try to keep the dish as authentic as the real deal, and document your experience through a compelling post.

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First of all, I would like to clarify that I am Taiwanese, not Korean. Surprisingly, my own ethnicity do not recognize me and I am commonly mistaken for ethnicity I am not, which is Korean.However, I LOVE Korean food. Kimchi, kimchi jigae, galbi, samgyupsal, kimchi, bulgogi, japchae, and kimchi. Oddly my Korean boyfriend, hates kimchi. He jokes that he has become more and more Korean after dating me. In pursuit of my craving for authentic Korean food, I sought after the person who would know the best, his mom.

Kimchi Jigae 김치 찌개.

A spicy, soul satisfying soup made from pork, tofu, and kimchi. Soup is served as a main course for a meal in Korean cuisine. Like other Korean dishes, kimchi jigae is usually eaten around the table with family. Korean cruise revolves around rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables, and meats. Beef and pork is the most consumed meat of all, either through roasting, stewing, and grilling. Popular dishes include galbi, bbqed beef or pork short ribs, and samgyeopsal, grilled thick, fatty slices of pork belly meat. Kimchi is nearly served at every meal.

What is kimchi?

Kimchi is traditional fermented dish of vegetables. There are hundred variations of kimchi but popular ones include napa cabbage, radish, green onion and cucumber. Spices include chili, salt, brine, vinegar, scallions, garlic, and ginger.These vegetables and spices contributes to its high nutritional content. Kimchi is rich in vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium and iron, and contains a number of lactic acid bacteria. It is named as the top five “World’s Healthiest Foods” by the magazine Health for being rich in vitamins, aiding digestion, and even possibly reducing cancer growth. Koreans consume an average of 40 lbs of kimchi per year.

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I use pork cuts with bone because you get more flavor from the bone marrow. Some people use samgyupsal, bacon pork, which is fine also. I find that the gelatinous richness from the marrow brings together the wholeness of the soup. To add another dimension to kimchi jigae, I use shrimp stock, which can easily be made by throwing in the heads along with the pork. The head holds a lot of fat (and guts), which in turn contributes a rich flavor. To extract the best flavor, it is important to buy fresh head-on shrimp. You’ll be surprised on how much depth, flavor and aroma you can get out of scrapes and bones by extracting their hidden potential. Also, old kimchi is best for kimcjhi jigae because it’s adds a nice acidic taste to the soup. This is also a good way to get rid of over fermented kimchi.


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.