Called “Kimchi-jjigae” in Korean, this spicy kimchi stew will clear out your sinuses without setting your mouth on fire. The broth tastes similar to hot and sour soup, with the same mouth-watering vinegar-ish flavor. Soft pork belly is the perfect counterpoint to the tangy kimchi, amping up the rich flavor. Got a snow day ahead of you? Make this hearty stew and stay warm.
“Kimchi” is a verb – basically it’s Korean for “to pickle.” For this stew, we make our own kimchi cabbage (you can adapt this sauerkraut recipe). If you buy kimchi, look for kimchi’d cabbage, Napa cabbage or bok choi.
Feel free to tweak this to your taste – it’s delicious with tofu in addition to (or instead of) the pork belly. Use tofu and vegetable stock for a vegetarian meal. Serves 8.
1 pound uncured pork belly, cut into half-inch cubes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, crushed or minced
1 tablespooon fresh ginger, grated
1 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean spice paste – we use this brand)
4 cups beef or chicken stock
1 cup kimchi, with liquid, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Sliced scallion for garnish
Mix together the soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Pour the mixture over the pork pieces and marinate while finishing prep, 5-10 minutes.
Heat a medium saucepan on med-high heat and add the cooking oil. Sauté pork belly for a few minutes, just to crisp up the outside of the pieces and render a bit of the fat.
Add chopped onion and gochujong. Stir and simmer the mixture, blending in the gochujong well, until the onions soften. Stir in the stock and kimchi. Bring back up to simmer and cook the stew gently for half an hour.
Garnish each bowl with a generous handful of fresh scallions (we like to slice those on the diagonal so they look pretty). This stew stands up pretty well on its own for lunch or a light dinner. If you want to add a side, it would go well with scallion pancakes or maybe a hearty sourdough bread.