Kimchi and Chicken Stew

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I like making Kimchi, but I usually make too much. Making a stew with the remaining Kimchi is a great way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. I have made a Kimchi Stew using tofu, but I like this one made with chicken more. It’s even better the next day.

You will have to go to an Asian market (or Korean market) to find the Gochujang and Gochugaru. I’ve never seen these items in a regular grocery store. If you don’t want to make your own Kimchi, you can get it at the Asian market too. Get the fish sauce (I like Three Crabs brand) and the Chinese cooking wine there as well. These ingredients are essentials for many Korean or Asian recipes. Buy them and challenge yourself to use them.

Kimchi and Chicken Stew

5 dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
1 small onion, thinly slivered
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups your favorite kimchi
1 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean fermented hot pepper paste)
1 tablespoon Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
salt and black pepper, to taste

Cooked rice, hot

Place the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl. Add enough hot water to cover. Soak until the mushrooms are soft, about 20 – 30 minutes. Remove the stems from the rehydrated mushrooms and slice thinly.

Heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a couple more minutes, until fragrant.  Add the kimchi, Gochujang, Gochugaru, fish sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken broth, raw chicken, and the sliced rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the stew to a slight boil. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with hot rice.


Tofu Jorim

This is another Korean side dish I made recently. Wow! I can see an addiction coming on.  Tofu jorim reminds me of tofu I used to get from a place in Arlington, Texas called Viet Tofu. Incredibly flavorful, with the typical Asian balance of salty, sweet, and spicy flavors.

A few years ago, I figured out the secret to really great fried tofu. You have to toss the tofu with flour or cornstarch (or a combination of both) before frying.  The flour or cornstarch keeps the tofu from sticking to the pan and creates a nice little crust, yet keeping the inside moist. Tofu fried this way holds up well in soups and curry sauces. It is also a nice appetizer, especially when paired with a sweet chili sauce.

Tofu Jorim

1 package tofu (firm or extra firm)
flour or cornstarch

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder
2 green onions, sliced

Drain the liquid off the block of tofu. Cut into fourths lengthwise and then slice  across (about 1/4 ”  to 1/2″ thick). At this point, I usually lay the tofu slices out on paper towels and cover with more paper towels to remove excess moisture. Dredge tofu in flour or cornstarch, shaking off excess. Gently fry in batches in hot oil,turning occasionally, until golden. Remove the tofu from the oil and let drain on paper towels.

Once the tofu is fried, combine soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, red pepper powder,  and green onions in a skillet over medium heat. Add the fried tofu to the sauce, and let simmer, occasionally turning the tofu to ensure coverage. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Tofu jorim can be served warm or cold.


Korean Cucumber Salad

I’m teaching myself to cook some popular Korean dishes. This cucumber salad is a typical accompaniment to Korean meals. It is delicious.

Korean Cucumber Salad

1 English cucumber
1 tablespoon vinegar (I like to use rice vinegar, but white vinegar works well too)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Korean coarse red pepper powder
Kosher salt

Cut the ends off the cucumber and then cut in half horizontally. Slice and place in a bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar, and red pepper powder. Mix well. Season to taste with Kosher salt. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Kimchi

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I’ve been taking Tae Kwon Do for about 6 months now.  My instructor’s sister brought the most amazing kimchi I have ever had to the Christmas party in December.  I have been thinking about it ever since. I have only had kimchi at Korean restaurants and was never really crazy about it. I decided to try making kimchi for myself. I looked at several kimchi recipes online and watched a couple of videos of it being prepared. I put together this recipe based on the recipes and techniques I saw. It turned out half way decent. Overall, my first attempt at kimchi was successful. I’m starting to understand how people become so addicted to this stuff.

I  have the used sriracha instead of the Korean red chile powder and I think it’s a good substitution in a pinch.

Kimchi

1 head Napa cabbage, cut into 2-inch chunks
6 cloves garlic
1 1-inch piece of ginger
1 medium diakon radish, peeled and cut into small dice (or grated)
1/2 bunch green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/8 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup Korean red chile powder
1 teaspoon sugar
salt

Place the cut Napa cabbage in a large colander and sprinkle generously with salt, turning to coat. Let sit for about an hour. Add the diakon radish and sprinkle with salt again. Let sit another hour. Rinse vegetables with cold water and drain. Squeeze excess water from the cabbage and diakon mixture.

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Meanwhile, finely mince garlic and ginger in a food processor (or use a knife). In a large bowl, combine minced garlic and ginger, fish sauce, red chile powder, sugar, and green onions. Add the cabbage and diakon radish and mix well.

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Add the mixture to a large (1 quart) mason jar, pressing the ingredients down to remove air bubbles. You should be able to get most, if not all of the mixture into the jar. Screw on the lid. Let stand at room temperature for 1 or 2 or 3 days. When it starts to ferment, it will begin to bubble a bit. At that point it is ready to be eaten. Refrigerate after opening.

Kimchi keeps for awhile in the fridge. It will continue to ferment and will get increasingly sour. Some people like it that way. After about 4 weeks, it will be very sour. I prefer my kimchi to taste fresh and not sour, so I probably wouldn’t keep it longer than 4 weeks.


Dakdoritang

Dakdoritang is a traditional Korean braised chicken dish.  Chicken thighs or drumsticks may be used instead of breasts.  I didn’t have Korean chile paste (kochujang or gochujang)) and couldn’t find any at my local Asian market, so I used some harissa I had prepared earlier in the week.  This dish wasn’t really very hot, but was very flavorful and super easy to prepare.  It is definitely something I would make again, especially if I am able to find the Korean chile paste.

Dakdoritang

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
2 onions, cut into eighths
1 carrot, cut into 1 inch chunks
1-2 jalapenos, sliced (optional)
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp kochujang (also spelled gochujang – Korean hot pepper paste)
2 tbsp kochukaru (red pepper flakes)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp ginger
2 cups of water
Salt and pepper

In a heavy pot, combine all ingredients.  Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes over medium heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot with rice.