Ok, so the other night, my boyfriend was out and it was just me for dinner. Normally, on nights I don’t need to cook for anyone but me, I stick to something easy–like bread and almond butter (sadly, this is not an exaggeration). But, there was a ripe old jar of kimchi calling my name just sitting in my fridge, so I decided it was a great opportunity to make some kimchi chigae. My boyfriend–an Italian American–has been a real trooper about trying all the different veganized Korean foods I make, but the one thing that hasn’t quite enthralled him (yet) is kimchi [guys, no one is perfect stop judging him].
Kimchi chigae is basically like many other Korean recipes–it’s aimed at making sure nothing goes to waste. Like bibimbap, it’s about taking what’s in your fridge that you would otherwise not serve at the table and putting them into a pot until they become delicious again. The trick with any chigae (stew) is to make a kick ass broth. Here, that starts with good kimchi [duh]. But I also add some red onions (which are healthier than the white variety), garlic, and shiitake mushrooms to do some of the legwork. The final piece to the puzzle, though, is my mom’s Korean BBQ Marinade. I use this delicious concoction to take basically every savory dish I make to that next level.
If you like spicy food, you will love love love this recipe. It’s easy, delicious, and healthy to boot! You can find a step by step video demonstration of this recipe (along with a bunch of others) here.
Omma's Korean BBQ Marinade
- 1/2 red onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup soy sauce use Tamari sauce for GF version
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1/2 Korean apple pear
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp maple syrup optional
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke optional
- Blend all ingredients for Omma's Korean BBQ Marinade in blender, until smooth and slightly frothy. It will smell freaking delicious and you will want to use it in everything you cook.
- In a medium size pot (I use the traditional Korean stone pot, but you can also use a dutch oven), over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Once the oil is nice and hot, add red onions and mushrooms. Cook until brown. Add garlic and salt and stir until garlic softens.
- Add kimchi and some of the kimchi juice. Feel free to slice the kimchi into bite sized pieces if it doesn't come that way already. Make sure the kimchi is overripe--as in, not the kind that you want to eat raw. The kimchi should be a dull orange (as opposed to the beautiful bright orange you see when served at a meal) and smell like your brother's dirty socks. If you use underripe or even just ripe kimchi, the stew will not come out as good.
- Add gochujang and Omma's Korean BBQ Marinade and stir until all the veggies are evenly coated. It should smell like heaven in your kitchen.
- Add water and bring to a boil. Then add black beans, tofu, and a little green onion for garnish. Do not let your stew cook too long--the longer you cook, the soggier your kimchi becomes. You want your kimchi to retain a nice satisfying "crunch" even when the stew is done cooking.