Kimchi Stew with Kale, Pork, and Silken Tofu ~ Soondubu Jjigae
My non-traditional version of the popular Korean tofu stew, soondubu jJigae, is flexible. I always start with kimchi and silken tofu, then perhaps add vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, or daikon; broth can be anchovy stock, chicken stock, or vegetable broth; it can be vegetarian or made with ground pork, beef, pork belly, or seafood; the salty component can come from soy sauce, or fish sauce, or salt; I sometimes add an egg… or not. I make this fast and easy stew often, changing ingredients with whatever is at hand.
I especially like the myriad of flavors, textures, and colors; it’s spicy, silky, and very satisfying. Last night, there was plenty of kale in the fridge, so that went into the stew as well.
My method is somewhat unorthodox too. I always like to cook the meat ahead of time and drain off the excess saturated fat. Then I use the more healthier olive oil to cook the stew. Flavorful toasted sesame oil is used as a finishing oil only, not in the cooking process.
Note: for a more standard version of soondubu jjigae, please visit any of the fabulous Korean bloggers in the side bar below.
Kimchi and Silken Tofu Stew Recipe
2 T. olive oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. gochugaru (Korean red chili powder, coarse-ground, medium heat)
1/2 lb. ground pork, cooked and drained
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 c. torn curly kale, stems removed
1 c. rough-chopped cabbage kimchi with juices
7 oz. silken tofu (half of package, drained)
soy sauce, fish sauce, or salt to taste
toasted sesame oil
fresh ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a ddukbaegi (Korean earthenware pot) or a heavy bottomed medium-sized soup pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and gochugaru then sauté for one minute. Add the cooked pork, stir to combine and lightly brown the pork.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Add kale and kimchi (with juice), cook until kale wilts. Add large scoops of silken tofu and continue to cook until the tofu is hot. Taste for salt then add soy sauce, fish sauce, or salt to taste.
Add a cracked egg and cook to your liking, either with runny yolk, or break the yolk so it cooks a bit more.
Drizzle sesame oil over the entire stew. Finish with grinds of black pepper and garnish with a generous amount of sliced scallion. Serve bubbling hot. Steamed rice is nice on the side.