Sunday, May 31, 2009

Simple Kimchi Stew

A week or two ago, I was with a friend who ordered Kimchi Stew at a Korean restaurant. I tried some, and it was tasty. This inspired me to do some reverse-engineering.

Without looking around at other people's recipes, here's what I came up with. I aimed for taste rather than strict authenticity. Serve it on its own, or with rice, bean threads, little boiled potatoes, or the starch of your choice. Makes 1 significant serving.


  • 1/2 cup of dashi, fish stock, vegetable stock, or meat stock from animals of known origin
  • 1/4 lb of sliced MOKO (pork works well) (I don't believe in eating large amounts of tofu)
  • a handful of dried shiitake mushroom pieces
  • a generous teaspoon of miso paste (the kind from a tub, not from an envelope)
  • a big forkful of cabbage kimchi (make it yourself or buy it)
  • a large handful of baby spinach, bok choy, or other greens. If they are tough, boil or steam them some ahead of time; if they are tender, this is unnecessary.
  • a scallion or "long onion", sliced thin diagonally, as garnish

  1. Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl. Barely cover them with boiling water. Let sit for 10 or 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Boil the stock in a medium saucepan. Add the tofu or meat and heat thoroughly. Add the mushrooms and their liquid. Remove from heat.
  3. Spoon a few spoons of the stock into a small bowl, add the miso to the bowl, and mix it with a spoon until all the miso chunks are broken up. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
  4. Add the kimchi to the saucepan and stir.
  5. Cut the greens into bite-sized pieces if necessary; add them to the saucepan and stir well.
  6. Taste the soup. Adjust the seasoning by adding more kimchi, more miso, some fish sauce or soy sauce, some sesame oil, some sesame seeds, some water if you want, or whatever else you think it needs.
  7. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with scallions. Provide soup spoons and chopsticks.

  • This is an ideal use for old kimchi that has lost its crunch.
  • My Korean friend thought that the presence of kimchi made fresh greens unnecessary.
  • Get non-GMO or organic tofu and miso if you possibly can.
  • You can find miso paste at Asian markets, and also at some non-specialized supermarkets.
  • With a little work, you may be able to find local sources for tofu and miso. With a little more work, you can make your own. (Possible career path?)

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