Monday, August 30, 2010

Kimchi Jigae - My Interpretation

I've been craving some kimchi jigae, a phenomenal kimchi and pork stew, so I figured why not try making it. Now, I have to caveat I am not Korean, so this is just a kimchi and pork stew that is uber flavorful. This is definitely not the classic kimchi jigae for all you purists out there.

Most recipes I saw basically had you boil a whole mess load of ingredients in a pot with no sauteeing or searing. That didn't fly with me so I did a classic braise - sear, sautee, and gentle simmer. Also, I was thinking what would amp this broth up, so I added clams, mushrooms, and pork neck - the goodies in the neck bone would be more flavorful than the classic pork belly alone. And, I generally use shoulder or necks in my Italian style braises any way. Any who, this is by far the best version / interpretation of this dish I've ever had. Unfortunately, my droid did not save the pictures I took of this dish hence the replacement picture to the right :)

kimchi (8 cups worth)
6 green onion stalks cut in fourths (1 onion thinly sliced for garnish)
1 yellow onion sliced
6 cloves garlic minced
2.5 pounds pork neck (if not available, you can substitute pork shoulder)
12 little neck clams thoroughly cleaned (scrubbed, and soaked in water for a half an hour changing the water until it's clean 4+ times)
10 shitake mushrooms cleaned
1 package enoki mushrooms cleaned
1 box medium firm tofu cut into 1 inch dice
Canola Oil
Salt and White Pepper
4 tablespoons gojuchang (red pepper paste)
Water enough to cover the kimchi
Short grain white rice cooked according to your rice maker instructions

1) Remove impurities from the pork by boiling it hard for 5 minutes - just covering the meat with water. Saw Heston Blumenthal do this so I figured why not. My thinking was this would make the broth more clear and also help break down the meat. Toss out all the water and towel dry the meat and season with salt and pepper.

2) Sear the meat over medium high heat until golden brown on all sides using the oil. This adds the complexity of flavor. Remove the meat and set aside.

3) Sautee the onion, green onions, and garlic until softened (about 5 mins) in the same pan with new oil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, but go light since the kimchi is salty enough. Make sure to discard the old oil before cooking the veg, since it may have some off flavors.

4) Simmer time. Add the pork back into the pot and 3/4 of the kimchi and add enough water to come 2-3 inches of fully submerging everything. Bring to a boil over high heat and cut to low heat to simmer everything.

5) Add the mushrooms, 1/2 the gojuchang, and tofu after 30 minutes of cooking. I added the mushroom and tofu much later, so it still has some texture left. I had left over enoki mushrooms that I cooked in sake and finished with some miso off heat. This had big time flavors and probably added to the awesomeness of the broth. Not required of course. Also, this whole entire time, you should check the broth level. If it's pretty low, you can add more water. Don't worry, there's so much flavor here that even adding water won't dilute it that much. There should generally be equal parts broth and stuff (meat, veg, etc.).

6) Add the clams after 30 minutes of cooking. Check after 6 minutes to see when the clams open up. Also, check the meat - if it falls apart when you pull with a fork, the meat is done. If not, remove the opened clams and cook some more until it does (maybe 15 mins more).

7) Finish with the rest of the kimchi and gojuchang. I like adding this at the very end since it adds brightness and a pop to the dish at the very end. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and serve immediately with white rice. Top with fresh sliced scallions. If you want to be nice to your guests, you can remove the meat from the pork bone and clam shells but I think this should be a rustic dish so I left the shells and bones in. Key fact - it tastes even more intense the next day!

1 comment:

porthos said...

i'm guessing those breasts aren't authentic either... so no worries about authenticity my friend.

as long as it tastes good.
right guys?