Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kimchi stew

When we were in South Korea, we had kimchi every day. For every meal (almost). We had it in its usual form as a side-dish. We had it as a cold soup. We even went to a kimchi museum in Gangnam.

kimchi through the ages

types of kimchi

Me being fed plastic kimchi by a mannequin

And we had kimchi stew.

One night we were able to meet up with one of my good friends for dinner. We were both staying in guesthouses in Itaewon, the "foreigner" district of Seoul. We were looking for a good place for dinner, and the owner of my friend's guesthouse wrote down the name of a local haunt and a few things we should order.

We walked down a steep hill, out of the part of town where most people could at least understand English to the part of town where we were a real anomaly. Since none of us could read Korean, we held the post-it up to each restaurant sign until we matched it up and went inside.

We looked at our menus, but the waiter laughed when he came to our table and noticed the post-it. (And we didn't respond to whatever he said in Korean.) He just took it away, and came back with spicy pork barbecue, kimchi stew and soju to wash it all down.

Later we found out this place was known for its kimchi stew. Inspired by that, I decided to try my hand at it. I don't know how "authentic" this is - it's a little different than the one we had at that restaurant. But no matter - I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out.

Kimchi stew
4 cups kimchi (I used pre-made kimchi from Trader Joe's)
1 pound pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp mirin
3-4 Tbsp sriracha
4 scallions, sliced

Drain the kimchi but reserve the liquid. Heat a large cast-iron skillet to medium heat and add pork. Cook until browned and cooked through, then add kimchi. Stir and cook until sizzling. Add kimchi liquid, mirin, and sriracha. Stir in two thirds of the scallions, leave the rest for garnish.

Serve with rice.

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