Chaos Queer Cooking: Kimchi-Jjigae for Spoonies

Hey folks, welcome back to Chaos Queer Cooking! So, context: I’ve been eating and making Korean food for a long time. My middle school was around the corner from a little Korean diner-slash-grocery, and everybody there was lovely to me when I wandered in with a mix of curiosity and confusion. It took me a few years to start (trying to) cook it; I didn’t get far, until I found out about Maangchi. With a lot of help from her recipes and videos, I started making stuff that was actually edible – and, as it turns out, much better for the stomach of somebody with a lactose intolerance. Funny that.

Maangchi’s original recipe is here, and if you want to make kimchi stew the Right Way, check out hers first! Below is a recipe that I use, usually because of a shortage of ingredients or chronic pain flareups.

  1. Get your stock boiling! Make sure that your stock cube/bouillon is fully dissolved, if you’re using that.
  2. Add your chopped kimchi and kimchi brine, and let boil for a few minutes. (Also add daikon here, if you’re using it.)
  3. Add gochujang and make sure the paste mixes in properly.
  4. Add pineapple, salt, sugar, sesame oil and mushrooms.
  5. If you’re using pork and/or tofu, fry them gently in a pan (enough to brown) and then tip into the stew between steps 3 and 4.
  6. Leave on the stove until everything is cooked and kimchi is soft.
  7. Serve over shirataki, rice noodles, rice or japchae!

This is a pretty bastardized recipe, but not making your own stock cuts down on preparation time a lot, and adding things like daikon, mushroom and pineapple can bulk out the stew a little more, especially if you’re short on kimchi. All of the seasoning amounts are variable; I often add much more sugar than this, and the original calls for chili pepper flakes as well as gochujang.

Extra note: This is a great way to use up kimchi that’s gotten a little strong/fermented for a while! The kimchi itself hasn’t gone bad, just sour, and the sugar and salt in the recipe help balance it out.

Spoonie notes: You can dump in the kimchi whole if you want to, you’ll just have bigger leaves to contend with. But that way, unless you’ve added extra ingredients, there’s basically no chopping required.

Again, make sure to check out Maangchi’s original recipe, which includes how to make anchovy stock from scratch!

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