Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spicy kimchi stew

As I was typing that title, I couldn't help but think, "wow, those are three words I never thought I would be putting together, much less have it be to describe a dish that has become one of my favorites."  I have never had much of a spice tolerance, I never thought I liked kimchi (mainly because most traditional versions contain fish), and as you heard from my last post, I was never a soup or stew fan.  Well, turns out when you put them all together... some strange nirvana is reached.  I suppose the philosophical lesson here is that if you have some fears, just face them all at once!  So it looks like sky diving into a vat of spiders while being robbed will be my next post... 

Anyways, I digress.  

I tend to get cravings a lot, but I had no idea what my cravings were capable of until I had kimchi stew.  There is a vegetarian friendly korean restaurant in Berkeley that has become my favorite restaurant, and it was there that I was introduced to kimchi stew.  It is filled with spice and crunch and umami and it is served bubbling hot.  I tried a traditional kimchi stew recipe a few weeks ago, and while it was good, it just didn't do the trick.  And then I stumbled across this recipe.  I swear there were angels singing as the kimchi bubbled away in that thick spicy stewy goodness.
Now, I do have one confession about this recipe.  It calls for Korean rice cakes (tteok)... but after 3 laps of Berkeley Bowl, there were just no tteok in site.  But, I did find some frozen Japanese rice cakes (mochi).  I am very familiar with mochi, so I knew it wouldn't be exactly the same... but the idea behind them is similar: They are both pounded glutinous rice.  Anyways, I went with it... and the mochi ended up just sort of dissolving in the stew.  Oops?  It's ok though, because I think it helped the consistency of this and made it really stewy.    

Spicy Kimchi Stew
Adapted from
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons kochujang
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1" piece ginger (grated)
  • 16 oz kimchi
  • 1/2 lb rice cakes
  • 1 asian eggplant (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1/2 pound shiiitake mushroom (stems removed)
  • 8 ounces extra firm tofu (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 3 green onions (sliced)

  1. Bring water to a simmer in large nonstick skillet.
  2. Add kochujang, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger and stir.
  3. Add the rice cakes and kim chi, stir, and bring back to simmer.
  4. After 5 minutes, add the eggplant, shiitakes, and tofu.
  5. Continue cooking, with occasional stirring, for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve with green onions as garnish.
  7. Enjoy with some brown rice!

1 comment:

  1. Hi I have a vegan restaurant. I used your recipe as a basis for my soup. I made my own Kim Chi and was wondering what to do with it so I made the soup. Instead of sugar I used coconut nectar and instead of soy sauce I used coconut aminos. I also replaced red wine vinegar for coconut vinegar. I use a lot of coconut products. I also substituted crimini mushrooms for shiitake. It turned out pretty good.