Korean Kimchi Jjigae w Kongnamul (Spicy Kimchi Stew w Soybean Sprouts)
For as much as we make our usual spicy, fiery, meaty kimchi jjigae (at least once a week), one would probably think we would get tired of it especially in this warmer weather (not one bit). But we did do something different by varying our usual combination of kimchi/pork/tofu and opted for something equally as good, substituting the tofu with soybean sprouts (kongnamul), which really gave it a slightly crunchy and satisfying texture to each bite. We usually like to eat kimchi jjigae when we want to use up older and more pungent kimchi, but this fresher batch that we bought recently at the Korean market worked just as well. Just in case you don't know, older kimchi that has been fermented longer gives the soup a stronger flavor, thus bringing added depth and taste to the soup. A few months back, the missus made this using really old kimchi and sliced bacon pieces. I wondered in suspicion and highly doubted if it tasted any good (just by appearance alone--fiery red and plain looking), but couldn't believe how good the soup tasted with the smokey bacon bits, spicy soup broth, and the soft, sticky rice. Though it may not be visually appealing, this kimchi/bacon combination will be posted in the future.
- Servings: 6~8 servings
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 45 minutes
- 3 lb pork riblets or spare ribs
- 4 cups kongnamul (soybean sprouts)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 3 cups kimchi, the older the better
- 1 cup kimchi liquid (if available)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
- 2 tbsp gochugaru (red pepper flakes)
- 8 cups of water
- 4 scallions, chopped diagonally
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced diagonally
- 1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced diagonally
- salt to taste
- In a large pot, boil the pork riblets in water with bay leaves and/or a few garlic pieces. Boil for 25~30 minutes; remove foam and scum that floats to the top with a ladle or spoon. Or at the end of boiling, drain entire broth and bay leaves; refill with 8 cups of fresh water. Remove pork to cool and cut into individual pieces; return pork to the large pot.
- Bring water to a boil adding chopped kimchi and remaining ingredients, save the scallions and soybean sprouts. Cook for another 20 minutes and let sit on low to medium setting.
- After washing and removing dirty end tips, add soybean sprouts and cover with lid; cook for about 10 minutes on medium setting.
- Plate into soup bowls and garnish with pepper slices. Serve hot with a bowl of rice and other banchan (side dishes).
- *Kimchi jjigae is very versatile with many variations and substitutions; common meat/protein substitutes include chicken (which tastes surprisingly good), canned tuna, bacon, seafood, and even beef slices. Don't be surprised to see many Koreans eating this soup with kimchi as the sole ingredient and a bowl of rice for a quick and efficient meal. In our household, we usually make a large batch that provide a few extra meals.
Serving Size: 8
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Preparation Time: 55 minutes