Have you ever heard about kimchi? Chances are you have, but if you haven’t, allow me the honor of telling you all about this wonderful ingredient and side dish.
Kimchi is a classic Korean preparation used to give flavor to stews, and it’s also a fantastic side dish that you can add to anything, literally.
We’re talking about salted and seasoned fermented cabbage, a spicy, tangy and addictively tasty cousin of the German sauerkraut.
Kimchi goes back to the 16th-century, and its traditionally fermented in special clay pots underground. Luckily, today you can just buy a jar online or in any Asian supermarket. Try it, and you’ll love it!
The long and slow fermentation takes an otherwise bland vegetable and turns it into a fantastic umami-rich concoction. By umami, I’m referring to the ‘delicious’ taste found naturally in many foods, including cheese, mushrooms and tomatoes.
So, what to do with kimchi? For starters, a kimchi nabe — Japanese hot-pot broth that’s a specialty during the cold season. The Korean version is pretty similar, and it’s called Kimch Jjigae. By the way, ‘nabe’ means hot stew.
Kimchi is obviously the leading flavoring agent here, but the real treat is the tender pork shoulder, the mushrooms, the silken tofu and the fresh chives. Cooked in a fragrant dashi broth and flavored with miso, you end up with a heavenly bowl of complex goodness.
I won’t lie. A traditional Kimchi Nabe is a labor-intensive, time-consuming dish to make, so I took the most vital ingredients and made an easier version. One you can make at home with little experience. The results are very satisfying — even for a Kimchi nabe purist.
Slice the chives into thin pieces and reserve.
Mince the onion, slice the mushrooms, dice the tofu into medium-sized cubes, reserve.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sesame oil until hot, add onions until translucent, then the kimchi and cook for 5-8 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Add the shredded pork shoulder until brown.
Add the dashi broth and turn up the flame to high.
Once the broth is boiling, stir in the miso paste and adjust the seasoning with salt.
Add the mushrooms, cabbage and tofu, and cover until nicely reduced.
Serve and garnish with the chives. This broth is best enjoyed very hot!