Annie's Chamorro Kitchen: Kimchi Soup

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Annie's Chamorro Kitchen: Kimchi Soup

by: Lt. Col. Annette Merfalen | .
Annie's Chamorro Kitchen | .
published: June 04, 2015

My name is Annie and I love kimchi.

There…I’ve admitted it, although it really wasn’t such a secret.  :)  I’ve eaten kimchi since I was a little girl.  I do remember having to rinse it in a cup of water because I couldn’t stand how spicy it was, but I grew to love the spiciness of the fermented cabbage.

Kimchi is an acquired taste for sure, but it’s a staple in Korean homes, and lots of Chamorro homes too as a matter of fact.

Now on to kimchi soup.  I was first introduced to this soup when I was assigned to Korea about 17 years ago.  A group of us went to dinner with our Korean partnership officers and the senior officer placed a bowl of the steaming soup in front of me and insisted I eat.  “Eat, eat!” he told me, and he even placed a soup spoon with rice in it in front of me.  “Eat!  Eat!”  Of course, I didn’t want to offend him, so I ate….and ate….and ate….and ate.  It was so delicious, with pieces of pork, tofu, and lots of tasty kimchi!

Thankfully I have a Korean sister-in-law who is an excellent cook.  She, along with the Korean ajumma (or ajima) who watched my kids (during my second tour to Korea), taught me how to make the Korean dishes I’ll be sharing with you.

This is my version of Kimchi Jigae (or Chigae), one of my favorite Korean soups.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound pork belly
  • 1/2 pound lean pork (umm…lean pork cancels out the pork belly in my book) 
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, cut into large pieces
  • 4 cups of kimchi, cut into small pieces (save the kimchi juice!)
  • 6 stalks green onions, cut into 2-inch long pieces
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup kimchi juice
  • 1/4 cup Dashida beef flavored seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean pepper paste)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Optional:  1 package firm tofu, drained and cut into small pieces
  • Cut the onions into large pieces
  • Cut the kimchi into small pieces
  • Save that kimchi juice!

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, sauté the pork belly, lean pork and garlic for a couple of minutes, or long enough for the pork fat to start to melt a little bit.
  2. Add onions to the pot, along with the kimchi, green onions, Dashida, gochujang, and sugar.  Stir to combine.
  3. Pour in the water and kimchi juice.  Stir then cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes to soften the kimchi.  Add the tofu at this point; cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Serve piping hot with a bowl of rice on the side.  Enjoy!

Annie's Chamorro Kitchen website

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