Kimchi Soup (Kimchi Jigae)

“There is nothing like soup. It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike, unless of course you get your soup in a can.” Laurie Colwin, 'Home Cooking' (1988)

I hate to admit this, but winter is just around the corner. How I wish autumn can just stay a bit longer. So when the air begins to take on a chill as winter approaches, how do we keep ourselves warm? Wear thicker clothes? Tick. Wear jacket? Tick. Heater? Tick. Snug under the blanket? Tick.
How bout a bowl of steaming hot soup? BIG TICK!

There's nothing like sipping a bowl of hearty, thick and rich soup to keep us warm right down to the bones. As a fan of korean food, I keep myself warm with one of the most popular korean soups, Kimchi soup (Kimchi Jigae). This soup is reallly appetising and very easy to make as the kimchi does most of the flavouring for you. It tastes best if it's cooked along time but it's understood that some of us don't have the time as we usually cook after work. So just cook it as long as you can.

The measurement below is for a medium sized pan.

- 500gm packed Kimchi (can be found in Asian/Korean grocery)
- Silken tofu
- Pork Belly (sliced very thinly)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 sliced onion
- 1 tbsp cooking wine (I used Japanese Mirin)
- 1 tbsp  Korean chilli paste
- 2 tsp soya sauce
- A handful of spring onion (chop as desired size)
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 1/2-2 tbsp Korean bean paste ( I was running out of this, so I used the japanese miso, it tastes similar)
- water
- 2 Tbsp korean dried chilli flakes or chilli powder (optional)
- Fresh chinese cabbage (optional)

1) Heat up the pan until hot, add in the cooking oil , then add in the pork belly and onion. Stir and let the fat render out of the pork, add the kimchi and garlic. Saute until it fragrant. Then add in the bean paste/miso, cooking wine, Korean chilli paste, keep stirring for another 5 minutes. Then add in the water and make sure to add in all the juice from the kimchi.
2) Bring soup to boil, add the optional Korean chilli flakes/powder and cabbage. Turn down the heat and let it simmer until pork and kimchi are tender.  If you find the soup is not salty enough, you can use the bean paste/miso until you get your desired taste.
3) 10 minutes before serving the soup add in the tofu and leave it to simmer.
4) When you are ready to serve, add in the spring onions and give it a quick stir.
5) Serve along with steamed rice.

Yes, there's something magical about this hearty soup. The warmth that fills your stomach, to your house and your heart with comfort.


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