Last winter, long before this current cooking obsession (is that what it is?) I did actually make kimchi nabe a couple of times. Still, it’d been such a long time that last night I enlisted the aid of my wife and this kimchi nabe was a joint venture. It actually is incredibly easy to make, and if you like spicy food you’re almost guaranteed to stuff yourself to the point of immobility. (The soup sneaks up on you and hits you all at once with a feeling of having eaten too much. But it’s well worth it!) It’s a lot easier to make the broth if you have a kimchi nabe broth like this one, which is probably hard to find outside of Japan. If you can’t get that, then extra Kochijan or miso would suffice.
Ingredients (Just what we used, not anything to stick to. Quantities are also pretty flexible):
- Kimchi (We used Gyukaku Kimchi.)
- Sesame Oil
- Kimuchi Nabe Tsuyu (if available, otherwise miso and maybe soup stock)
- Chinese Cabbage (hakusai – we didn’t add any because we used a lot of kimchi, which contains hakusai)
- Leaks (naga negi)
- Chives (nira)
- One bunch enoki mushrooms (not necessary but I LOVE them)
- Thinly sliced pork (The quantity and type are flexible. I tend to use Berkshire Pork, known as kurobuta in Japan.)
- Abura age tofu (optional, we put it in just about everything)
- Put the kimchi in a large pot and fry it for a minute or two with sesame oil. This is really essential. It brings out a much richer flavor. I actually add a bit of sugar here as well. I find that it reduces the fermented sour bite of the kimchi.
- Add the pork and fry until it is cooked.
- Add water, bring it to a boil.
- Add other vegetable ingredients. (Garlic might be a good idea as well, though I think it’s in the kimchi already.)
- Add kimchi nabe broth if you have it, kochijan spicy Korean miso, etc.
- Taste the broth and adjust the strength and flavor with more kochijan or weaken with water.
- I like to add the tofu and enoki mushrooms at the end and only boil them briefly. (I really love the texture of enoki mushrooms and they lose that a bit when boiled for too long.)
Again, all the quantities are pretty flexible in my experience and so I just keep tasting it as I go. I guess most nabe dishes are this way.
We just ate the leftovers from last night for lunch today and as with niku jaga, the flavor is even better the second day! Probably a good idea to make way more than you can eat in one sitting.
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