김치찌개 Kimchi Jigae — a fiery bowl of passion!

Lets craft a dish our tongues will record in history!  Kimchi Jigae 김치찌개!!  Its so easy to make and you will never settle for Ramen noodles again!  It will also keep you warm in the winter!

Kimchi jjigae -  Holmes Korea AUD12

. . . . .

The following ingredients are probably unfamiliar to you, so during the post, I will have photos of the ingredients.  I will also include a list of the ingredients written in the Korean language.  If you aren’t as gutsy as some, print the out the ingredients in Korean and use it as a cheat sheet.  When you arrive at the market, just show someone and they will be more than happy to help you.  Korean people can be very endearing and they are some of the most helpful people I have ever met.

Ingredients
Pungent kimchi ……..1.5 small bowls
Pork …………………………………………….120g
White rice cake (sliced)…………………. 1 cup
Thick green onion………………………..1 bunch
Minced garlic…………………….. 2 tablespoons
Sesame seed oil…………………. 1 tablespoon
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)..1 tablespoon (optional)
Jalapeno pepper …………………1 (optional)

Seasoned chili powder:
Chili powder………………………… 3 tablespoons
Minced garlic…………………………… 1 teaspoon
Minced ginger……………………….. 1/2 teaspoon

Meat broth…………………………………….. 4 cups

Ingredients listed in Korean (print them out!)
김치 … 1.5 보시기
돼지고기 … 120g
횐떡 … 1컵
굵은 파 … 1뿌리
다진 마늘 … 1큰술
참기름 … 1 큰술
화학 조미료 … 1 큰술
고추………….1개

양념 고춧가루:
고춧가루 … 3큰술
다진 마늘 … 1작은술
다진 생강 … 1/2 작은술

육수 … 4 컵

. . . . .

Cookware and Eating Utensils

Before I send you on a mission to buy ingredients for Kimchi Jjigae, I wanted to give you the chance to really get into the culture, so I listed some items below that are an integral part of Korean cuisine.  Most of these items can be found at a wholesale kitchenware store or an E-Mart / Lotte Mart.

Dook-bae-gi 뚝배기 – This is a traditional-style earthen pot used for cooking fiery hot stews.  The name is pronounced, “Dook-bae-gi”.

winter 2013 014.Frying Pan – A frying pan is only necessary if you choose not to purchase a Dook-bae-gi.
Silverware – A pair of metal chopsticks and one soup spoon per person.  I recommend buying at least 4 to 6 if you want to have friends over.Soup Ladel – Necessary for scooping the stew out of the pot and pouring it into your bowl.
Tupperware – One medium sized bowl per person.  This is so that you can pour the stew from the Dook-bae-gi into an individual bowl of your own.  6 small bowls for side dishes (various side dishes filled with Sliced Radish Kimchi, Sesame leaves, Jalapeno Peppers in pepper paste, season fish, Lotus root in soy sauce, and Kimchi, respectively.  This is the traditional way of eating and sharing a meal). And 2 – 6 metal rice bowls for white rice.Traditional Korean Floor Table 밥상 – Pronounced, “Bap-Sang”, this is the traditional way friends and family eat in Korea; sitting on the floor at a table that is one foot from the ground.  Its a fun way to eat sitting on the floor.
Traditional Korean Floor Pillows – Traditional Korean floor pillows are square and come in a bright spectrum of colors.  You can find these at a pillow specialty shop or at E-Mart or Lotte Mart.
Gas Range Grill (with gas canister) – This is a portable gas range that you will set on top of the floor table when you are ready to cook.  A small can of gas can be plugged into the side of the grill.  These are easiest to find at E-Mart or Lotte Mart.
Rice Steamer – What meal in Korea isn’t complete without white Asian rice?  These steamers can be found at an E-Mart or Lotte Mart.  They will probably run you around $100, but its worth it.  And be sure to get a large bag of white rice to cook with.  [when using your steamer, take out the metal bowl, put in 2 – 3 cups of rice, fill up the metal bowl with water and massage the rice.  Then pour out the water and repeat 2 or 3 times until the rice is thoroughly washed.  Then, for example, if you put in 2 cups of rice, fill up the water to the 3 cup level inside the bowl.  And for 3 cups of rice, level 4 respectively]
Ingredients for Side Dishes – It is tradition to eat side dishes during the coarse of a Korean meal.  You can find a wild assortment of side dishes at a side-dish specialty shop or E-Mart or Lotte Mart.  What you choose to put in your side dishes is up to you, so have fun and try new things.  But if you would like some ideas, I can offer you some suggestions.

List of common side-dishes (in Korean and English)
깍두기     …..     sliced radish kimchi
맛김치     …..     tasty kimchi
깻잎     …..     sesame leaf
파김치     …..     onion kimchi
총각김치     …..     baby radish kimchi
양념 게장     …..     seasoned raw crab
콩나물 무침     …..     bean sprouts seasoned with vinegar
양념 구이     …..     seasoned roasted fish
연근 조림     …..     boiled lotus root in soy sauce
버섯 들깨 볶음     …..     sauteed mushrooms in parilla seeds

The sign on the left reads, "side dish"

The sign on the left reads, 반찬, “Ban Chan”, which means “side dish” in the Korean language.

Shops that specialize in side-dishes are also good places to find different varieties of kimchi.

Shops that specialize in side-dishes.

. . . . .

Locating and Finding a Wholesale Kitchenware Store

그릇도매” is how “wholesale kitchenware store” reads in the Korean language.  It is pronounced, “Guh-rut-do-may”.  If you cannot locate one of these stores in your neighborhood, I suggest writing “그릇도매” onto a piece of paper so that you can show it to a Korean person when you venturing out.  If you are unable to copy the Korean by hand, copy “그릇도매” using a computer and print it out at a local PC Bang(computer room).  If there aren’t any wholesale kitchenware stores near you, go to an E-Mart or Lotte Mart.

Wholesale Kitchenware Store

Wholesale Kitchenware Store

Wholesale Kitchenware Store 

[If you want to practice speaking Korean, remember the phrase, “Oh-Dee-Yay-Yo?”  It means, “where is it?”  When using this phrase, say the place you want to go first or what you are looking for, followed by “Oh-Dee-Yay-Yo?” ]

. . . . .

Shopping for Ingredients

The open air market is a wonderful place to get authentic Korean ingredients.  Locate one in your area and go there often. 

An open-air market

An Open-air Market

Kimchi:  when shopping for kimchi, little shops that specialize in Korean side-dishes are perfect.  You could go to the local E-mart to get kimchi, but the best quality is found in the small shops.  Plus, these shops usually have a large variety of kimchi to select from.  However, when making “kimchi jjigae”, its best to use kimchi that has a strong pungent vinegar taste.  This enhances the flavor.  Just let the shop owner know that you are making “kimchi jjigae” and he will be able to direct you.

A bottle of Kimchi

A bottle of Kimchi.

Lettuce Kimchi

Pork:  if you can find an open-air market when shopping for meat, great!  But, there are also plenty of butcher shops as well.  Either lean pork or fatty will work for the dish, it just depends on your preference.  I like fatty cuts of meat, because fat always holds more flavor.  Simply put the pork in a bowl and mix it with half a cup of oil and gently massage the meat.

Fatty pork

Fatty Pork

White rice cakeThere are shops that specialize in making “Ddeok”().  “Ddeok” is Korean for “rice cake”.  These shops are the places where you will find all kind of varieties of rice cake.  Look for the signs that say, ““.  Ask for sliced ddeok, but if you cannot find sliced ddeok, you can always cut it yourself.  Make sure that the ddeok is white.
When Korean Thanksgiving comes around you will find lots of ddeok in the area.  Korean Thanksgiving is called “Chu-sock”(추석).

A shop that sells "ddeok" 떡

White rice cake, "ddeok" 떡

“Ddeok” 떡 (White Rice Cake)

Thick Green Onion/ Garlic/ Ginger/ Jalapeno Pepper / Chili powderThe following items can be found in an open-air produce market.  If you are in Korea during the spring or summer time, finding an open-air market should be easy, but in the winter time, its more difficutl.  But if you are determined enough, you can find oneWhen purchasing these items, always examine them beforehand to determine its freshness. 

Green onions

Chili Powder

Sesame Seed OilSesame seed oil can come in a small bottle or a large metal can.  If you find a large can, it will have a plastic lid on top and writing on the side that says, “참기름”(Cham-gi-rum.)  You can find sesame seed oil in a grocery store.  Look for an E-Mart, Grand Mart, or a Lotte Mart in your area.Meat BrothYou can easily find a can of meat broth at a local grocer or E-Mart, etc.

. . . . .

Preparation

KimchiWith scissors, cut the kimchi into coarse 2 inch pieces.


Pork
Coarsely chop the pork into 1-2 inch pieces, then put in into a bowl.  To make the pork more tender and flavorful, mix it with a small amount of oil.  Then work the oil into the pork by hand.

Fatty Pork (chopped)

Fatty Pork (chopped)

White rice cake:  Lightly rinse the cake in running water.  If the cake is especially hard, soak in lukewarm water until it becomes soft.

White rice cake, "ddeok" 떡

Ddeok” 떡

Green onionRinse in running water.  Cut the stalks in half, then coarsely cut the stalks into 4-5cm pieces.  After this, tear each piece into shreds, evenly from top to bottom.

Jalapeno Pepper:  Rinse in water, cut in slices and use discretion when adding.

Chili PowderChop the garlic and ginger until minced.  Then mix the minced garlic and ginger into the chili powder until it becomes like a paste.

First mince the ginger...

First mince the ginger…

...then the garlic.

…then the garlic.

Now you are ready to mix all three together.

Now you are ready to mix all three together.

...then mix the ginger, garlic and chili powder by hand.

…mix the ginger, garlic and chili powder by hand.

...add a little water until the mixture becomes like a paste.

…add a little water until the mixture becomes like a paste.

Now you have red pepper paste.

. . . . .

Setting the Table

Find a suitable place on your floor to put your table, and set the gas range in the middle of the table and put the Dook-Bae-gi on top of the gas range.  Set your medium sized bowl in front of you and place the chopsticks and spoon to the right of your bowl.  Put the side dishes to the left and right on the table where you can pick from them while you are eating.  Place the Korean floor pillow in the place where you would like to sit.

. . . . .

Cooking

Begin by placing the chopped kimchi into the pot, followed by the spicy pepper paste.  After this put in the pork, coarsely chopped onions, minced garlic, sesame seed oil and the MSG[optional].  After this, pour in the meat broth until the pot is almost full- about an inch from the top.  Every ingredient except the white rice cake.  We will save that for last.
Next, bring the stew to a rolling boil.  Then decrease gradually until the roll of the boil is slight.  Let this continue until the kimchi has become soft and tender.  So every once in a while check the kimchi.  (It should take the stew around 30 – 45 minutes to cook.)  Once the kimchi has tenderized, turn the burner down to low and add rice cake.  Let cook for another 10 – 15 minutes.  Once the rice cake has softened its ready to eat.
Take your soup ladle, dip it into the pot of freshly cooked Kimchi Jjigae and pour yourself a nice steaming bowl!  And pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

. . . . .

In Korea it is tradition to say, “잘 먹겠습니다” before digging in.  This phrase is pronounced, “chal mo-ggess-sum-ni-da” and means, “I will eat well.”

And when you have finished eating, you close by saying, “잘 먹었습니다.”  This phrase is pronounced, “chal mo-goss-sum-ni-da” and means, “I ate well.”

Adapted from:괜찮은 찌개 다 들어 있어요! ed. 주부생활

3 thoughts on “김치찌개 Kimchi Jigae — a fiery bowl of passion!

  1. Kimchi jiggae is one of my favorites, especially now that it is winter. There’s a couple of places on my walk home that I stop sometimes. I was just talking with my Korean co-teacher about it and she was telling me that I should give it a try making it myself. I might just do that. Great article.

    Logan

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