I have pots! Fancy, blue Teflon pots! I ordered online with my fancy Korean bank account, that is a very long story, and I got fancy blue teflon pots! Unlike the first time I got my very own set of pots, I did more than just boil water. I made Kimchi Jiggae!
I don't remember the very first time that I had Kimchi Jiggae honestly. If it was in a restaurant or if I just made it myself. But I remember scouring the internet for recipes and finding Maangchi. I've made it a couple of times before I came to Korea, usually in a stone bowl. But I had to use my new fancy, blue Teflon pots didn't I!
If you don't know. Kimchi Jiggae is a soup or stew. Typically you use overly ripe Kimchi. Honestly, I'm not sure how you tell when kimchi is overly ripe, considering that it is fermented to begin with. I usually have kimchi in the fridge, special container and all, and I will mix it into rice, eat it with ramen, or the occasional Kimchi Jeon (kimchi pancake). When it gets low, I figure that it is ripe enough since I don't eat it that fast.
The base of Kimchi Jiggae, at least when I make it is Kimchi, of course, water, Gochujung (red pepper paste), minced garlic, and minced ginger. I don't always put any protein in it. I Have added a can of tuna. I'm not really a fan of the texture but, it is a common a addition in restaurants where I have had Kimchi Jiggae. The most common is pork belly. Back home when we were having Korean BBQ at the house, I would use what we couldn't eat or set some aside before hand. Now I make it with...spam. I swear I have eaten more SPAM since being in Korea than I have in my entire life!
Anyway, I like to start by searing the SPAM or pork. If I'm using tuna, I don't bother with this step. I don't let it get fully cooked, just enough. Then mix in the kimchi and let it fry a little bit as well. If you have never had it, fried kimchi, or grilled kimchi is great!. Anyway, let that cook for a couple minutes and then add the ginger and garlic. I totally admit to cheating and buying the frozen minced things. Makes my life so much easier. I was buying garlic and it would go off in the course of 2 weeks. Add water, about a cup or a cup and a half and a table spoon of the Gochujang. Let it boil for a few minutes and you are set. At this point I will add the tuna and top it off with some green onion.
Whenever I tell people, specifically Koreans, that I can make Kimichi Jjigae, they are first impressed that I like kimchi and then they are doubly impressed that I can make the jjigae. I'm not a big fan of Korean spicy foods. I don't know what the devil put in these chili peppers but it is NOT the same as Mexican spicy!
BUT, I do like to eat spicy food when I am deep conditioning my hair. Since I don't have a hair dryer or that bonnet thing. I cover my hair with a plastic bag, and enjoy a nice bowl of jjigae and let my heightened body heat do the rest. I am usually sweating by the time I'm done.
What other soups should I try?