Kimchi Jigae

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Served with simple green-onion omelette for lunch.

I will lament about the perils of julienning carrots elsewhere, but suffice to say that in the future I either need some kind of Dedicated Instrument or to just buy the pack of pre-shredded carrots at the grocery store (although I fear these be too skinny, probably intended for salads). The carrot banchan was, in my opinion, decidedly "eh." As in, I don't mind eating it, but given the labor of julienning carrots, probably not worth it unless I was making bibimbap. After julienning, I salted the carrots and stir-fried them for 2 minutes in sesame oil. Seems easy!

On the other hand, the kimchi jigae was a miracle stew and took almost no labor. I amped up the flavor here for my previous version (posted elsewhere in Recipes). Here are the ingredients:

  • 1/3 container of kimchi. This was all that was left in the fridge.
  • 1 pack of standard firm tofu, cut into small 1/2 inch cubes.
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced, seeds intact (all that was in the fridge)
  • 1 T Korean coarse red pepper powder
  • 1 T Korean red pepper paste
  • 1 T dark sesame oil
  • 2.5 T sugar (you read right!)
  • 2 large scallions, sliced
  • salt to taste


  1. In a medium-sized cooking pot, in an ample amount of canola oil, I sauteed the onion, garlic, and serrano pepper until the onion was translucent.
  2. I added the tofu and sugar, then sauteed about 5 minutes longer.
  3. I added the kimchi, red pepper powder, red pepper paste (despite what anyone says, this will dissolve well before 30 minutes!), salt, and just enough water to cover the mixture (add more water as necessary through the cooking process, but the end result should be a thick stew).
  4. I brought to a boil and simmered for 30 minutes.
  5. I added more salt to taste, and then added the scallions and sesame oil, then let simmer 15 minutes more while I was doing other things.

That's it! It was probably the best kimchi jigae I had made thus far. Please remember that conventionally this is made with beef stock, sometimes with meat. So this vegetarian version is going to have to carve out its own lonely path.

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