Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dinner's in 15 minutes...

Breaking News: My First Foray into Korean Cooking! Kimchi Jiggae tonight.

I saw a farmer's market near Seodaejeonneggeori, on the way back to my apartment. We stopped for kimchi jeon (like...latkes? sort of, anyway) and makkeoli (opaque, sweet rice wine) for a late lunch.

The man at the stand gave us some extra vegetable and pork pancakes. So lunch, including more booze than we could drink at 4pm, was a grand total of 4,000 won.

Then I saw women selling kimchi, fresh veggies, spices, fresh tofu, and tons of other goodies, and got inspired.

So tonight - kimchi jiggae, with only one concession to my irrepressible desire to mess with recipes: Chipotle rather than Korean chili powder. Also, Koreans usually have onions and green onions/scallions in the mix, but I didn't have any on hand. I threw in celery seed to compensate. I have no idea if that is reasonable, but the resulting stew smells SUPER delicious.

I think the general rule for kimchi jiggae is that you guesstimate stuff, since it's a dish where you use up leftover kimchi that's en route to being too sour (hence the brown rice vinegar if you're using fresh kimchi, as it should have a bit of a sauerkraut thing going on). So I didn't measure much, but here's the rough idea --


* 3 cloves garlic, smashed
* ~1 tbsp minced/grated ginger
* 2 tsp chili or chipotle pepper powder
* 1 can tuna packed in oil (there's a brand here that says right on it, in English, "for Kimchi Jiggae"!)
* 1 tbsp sesame oil
* 2 cups kimchi, cut roughly into 2-3" pieces
* 2-3 tbsp of kimchi juice
* 1 tbsp sugar
* ~ 1/2 tsp Black pepper
* Salt to taste
* 3 cups water, plus extra
* 1 small bunch enoki mushrooms (aka 팽이버섯 -- I call 'em "noodle mushrooms")
* Optional: 2 tbsp brown rice vinegar (if you're using fresh kimchi)
* Optional: 1 tbsp celery seed (totally not authentic, but it tasted great)

1. Pour tuna oil into pan on medium heat. Add sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chipotle, and pepper. Stir and cook for a minute or two.
2. Turn up to high/high medium. Add kimchi, kimchi juice, and 1/2 cup water. Cook without a top for between 5-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (NB: making rice? now's a good time to wash & soak)
3. Add tuna, water and sugar. It should cover the kimchi and a bit more. Cook for however long is convenient, 15 -45 minutes. If water boils off and doesn't cover the kimchi, add more.
5. About 5 minutes before you want to eat it, add the salt, mushrooms, and rice vinegar.
4. Serve with rice.

Bonus points to me for breaking in my new rice cooker, officially handed down to me by the lovely and talented Laura (ETA 2008-10).

Pictures and review soon...


Bigger version here.
It was awesome.

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